2015 USD Social Innovation Challenge Awards

In 2015, the Social Innovation Challenge awarded $75,000 to nine outstanding projects.

Nine student winners were awarded $75,000 at the Awards Ceremony on May 1, 2015. The 2015 SIC had participants from University of San Diego, Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego State University, California State University San Marcos, and University of California, San Diego. From a total of 100 teams, 63 advanced to the semi-finals, and 15 finalists were chosen to compete with a live pitch in front of a diverse group of judges. 

The SIC final judges were represented by:

Siyamak Khorrami, Founder & President, SkyRiver I.T.
Ned McMahon. Founder & CEO Primo Wind Inc.
Keith Muhart, Director of Marketing, Qualcomm Ventures
Peg Ross, Vice President, Global Human Resources & Organization Development, PCI Global
Steve Paljieg, Senior Director, Growth and Innovation, The Kimberly-Clark Corporation
Teresa Smith, SIC 2012 & 2013 winner; Founder, Dreams for Change
Necla Tschirgi, USD Professor of Practice, Human Security & Peacebuilding
Michelle Weinger, CPC Executive Advisory Board Member
Peter Zahn, President and Director, Moxie Foundation

Additionally, all finalists received the opportunity to crowd fund on our partner Indiegogo page. Winners were given the opportunity to apply to Connect's Springboard and free consulting from Mission Edge.

Cape Logo

CAPE, Jenny Li, Graduate Student,DeAnna Axler, Andrea Fessler, Patricia Jones, JoJo Lee, Andrea Aviles, Michelle Jimenez,Monica Lopez, Cory Daniel Ali El (Prize Money: $5,000)

CAPE is dedicated to providing a comprehensive range of evidence-based mental health services to low income and under-served populations in San Diego.

Foxbat Dynamics Logo

Foxbat Dynamics, Khoa Vu, Gabriel Kong, Troy Pascoe (Prize Money: $1,000)

Foxbat Dynamics aims to develop 21st century robotic technologies to improve emergency services and public safety in a socially responsible manner.

GodFreds Foundation, Fredrick B. Frimpong (Prize Money: $14,000)

GodFreds Foundation aims to give children in deprived villages in Ghana a quality education and support needed to be successful in life through a chain of low cost private schools.

H2Go logo

H2gO, M. Parker Cohn, Jeff Heath, Rachel Hirst (Prize Money: $17,000 & $1,000 Qualcomm Ventures Live Audience Choice Award)

H2gO is an off-grid water purification system designed to eliminate harmful bacteria and desalinate water in order to sustain small communities with clean and safe drinking water for an extended period of time.

SIMPLE SEAT, BETTER LIVES, Harrison Schmachtenberger, Mei-Li Hey, Shannon Bailey, Alix Naugler (Prize Money: $3,000)

Simple Seat, Better Lives is developing a low-cost and portable toilet seat designed for Ugandan landmine victims to alleviate the difficulties of using a latrine with a disability.


2015 San Diego Track Winners


Bystanders To Upstanders, Sneha Jayaprakash, Winnie Xu, Myra Emmett, To-Van Hoang, James Natanauan, Kevin Yin, Samantha Liu, Jason Wong, Robert Perez, Kurt Yun-Doyle, Stefan Todorovic, (Prize Money: $10,000)

Bystanders to Upstanders is launching an app that connects socially conscious organizations, charities, and volunteers in a central community and engages them to solve greater societal problems at the local level.

Cure Africa

East African Fellowship Program by C.U.R.E. Africa, Fnann Keflezighi, Mohamed Ahmed,
Yousef Abraham (Prize Money: $5,000)

The East African Fellowship Program is a community-based scholars program designed to curb the challenges facing East Africans in San Diego by bolstering college preparatory support among middle school youth.


EWH HIV Monitoring Team, Yajur Maker, Neel Parekh, Gillie Agmon, Kirk Hutchison, Carlos Munoz (Prize Money: $10,000)

This project is developing a cost effective, novel device to increase the capacity for the testing of HIV treatment failure in low-resource settings


The Free Artists Network (FAN), Krisha Moeller (Prize Money: $10,000)

FAN is an art education web platform and e-learning network that bridges the gap between arts-based education and contemporary art careers for creative students.

2015 Awards Ceremony

2015 SIC's Awards Ceremony was held on Friday, May 1, 2015 in the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Theatre.

The opportunity to meet finalists in the Rotunda started at 4:00 p.m. followed at 4:30 p.m with the Awards Ceremony Program of Finalists Pitches, $75,000 Awards, and the $1,000 Qualcomm Ventures Live Audience Choice Award in the Theatre. The ceremony was followed by a Networking Reception in USD's Garden of the Sea.

The event was curated by Cheryl K. Goodman, Founder & CEO of Social Global Mobile, LLC. The Spotlight speaker was Alicia Wallace, COO of All Across Africa.

Cheryl K. Goodman Cheryl K. Goodman
Alicia Wallace Alicia Wallace
Following 1.5 minute pitches from each finalist, Qualcomm Ventures sponsored a Live Audience Choice Award.The awards presentation was followed by networking with our community of supporters including representatives from Connect,Mission Edge, and San Diego Social Venture Partners as well as our judges, mentors, Executive Advisory Board members, and SIC participants.