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The Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business is pleased to announce the winners of the John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge (SNVC), the social impact track of the university’s nationally ranked Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge.

Winners of the seventh annual SNVC, which launches enterprises with a social impact mission and a plan for financial sustainability, received a total of $100,000 in venture funding. The winners are:

  • First Place ($60,000): Provide offers a software-based, back-office solution for daycare business owners, allowing them to enroll in government subsidy programs, manage licenses and accreditation, and maximize tax deductions. The venture aims to lower administrative burdens for child-care providers so they can focus on offering high quality care to more low-income families and advocate for full public funding of early childhood education. Team members include Chelsea Sprayregen, Hannah Meyer, Rebecca Karasik, Rob Seery, and Eve Poczatek (Booth).
  • Tied for Second Place ($20,000 each):
    • Flipside is a media platform that introduces people to the best articulation of different points of view. Using smart content curation motivated by social and behavioral science, Flipside allows users to cut through the noise and read different viewpoints without compromising on quality. Flipside believes that in this divided political and media environment, the only way to bridge our country’s divides is to understand one another. Team members include Sidd Sachdeva, Michael Killingsworth, Baxter Stein, Forrest Sill, Jason Li, and Julia Zhou (College, Law School).
    • JuryCheck is a legal technology, web-based application that provides a comprehensive platform for criminal defense attorneys, courts, and criminal justice reform advocates to detect and monitor racial and gender underrepresentation in the composition of jury pools. Team members include Christian Kolb and Kate Miller (Law School).
  • Other finalists: Direct Giving Lab, GoodWerk, Jetson Benefits, VeteranStay

SNVC finalists also will share in $148,000 of in-kind services, including office space, legal services, and professional consulting.

The SNVC is the cornerstone of the Edwardson Social Entrepreneurship Program, which provides resources and programming to UChicago students, alumni, and faculty interested in launching social impact or environmental startups. The Edwardson Social Entrepreneurship Program was named in honor of UChicago Trustee and Chicago Booth alumnus John Edwardson, ’72, retired chairman and CEO of CDW.

At Tuesday’s event, Edwardson announced the SNVC would award $100,000 in total venture funding this year instead of $50,000, as in past years.

“This year’s SNVC teams launched startups addressing complex social and environmental problems with sustainable business models,” said Robert H. Gertner, Joel F. Gemunder Professor of Strategy and Finance and Edwardson Faculty Director of the Rustandy Center. “The SNVC illustrates how the lines separating sectors are blurring—with for-profits adopting social missions and nonprofits recognizing that business skills are needed to scale their efforts. The Rustandy Center is committed to equipping organizations of all types—nonprofit, for-profit, and government—with the tools to make their work more effective.”

More than 70 judges—including experienced social and traditional entrepreneurs, impact investors, nonprofit leaders, and many Chicago Booth alumni—provided feedback throughout the SNVC program. Judges included Clara Brenner, managing partner of Urban Innovation Fund; Manoj Kumar, cofounder and CEO of Foundation for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship; David Spielfogel, managing partner of Ekistic Ventures; and Tasha Seitz, chief investment officer of Impact Engine. A full list can be found on the SNVC website.

The SNVC is run by the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation in partnership with the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Chicago Booth’s Rustandy Center (formerly known as the Social Enterprise Initiative) was named earlier this week in honor of a $20 million gift from Tandean Rustandy, ’07 (AXP-6), a longtime Chicago Booth and UChicago supporter and founder and CEO of Indonesian ceramics company PT Arwana Citramulia Tbk. Rustandy’s generosity secures the center’s position as the social impact hub at Booth and provides a firm foundation for future growth.

By the Numbers:

  • Since 2011, the SNVC has helped jump-start more than 90 companies and nonprofits
  • SNVC companies have gone on to raise more than $10.4 million in philanthropic dollars, grant support, and venture capital funding
  • Among them: solar-powered light company LuminAID, which has twice appeared on Shark Tank, and online voter guide BallotReady
  • Our startups are connecting farmers with technology, teaching high school students financial skills, and more

About the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation

The Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation is the destination for people committed to helping solve complex social and environmental problems. As Chicago Booth’s social impact hub, we build on the school’s grounding in business fundamentals with experiential learning and research-based insights. Then, through programs, including the John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge and training for nonprofit board members, we equip our community with the knowledge and tools to positively impact humanity.

Media Contact:
Ally Batty, Rustandy Center