New Tracks for Mobile Technology and Women Innovators Added to 2016 University of San Diego Social Innovation Challenge

New tracks for mobile technology and women innovators have been added to the Sixth Annual Social Innovation Challenge at the University of San Diego. San Diego County undergraduate and graduate college students have until Feb. 15 to enter the competition offering more than $50,000 in seed funding and support to launch ventures solving social, economic, and environmental issues.

The Mobile Tech track, sponsored by Qualcomm Wireless Reach and Qualcomm Ventures, offers $5,000 to projects that use mobile and wireless technology to address a social challenge. Projects may include apps, web platforms and other mobile and wireless technologies. This new Mobile Tech track is open to all students from San Diego.

University of San Diego students can apply for $35,000 in seed funding, including $10,000 to support women innovators and entrepreneurs for social change, recognizing that empowering women is crucial to the social transformation of communities. Students from other colleges and universities in San Diego can participate in the “San Diego Track” of the Social Innovation Challenge, with the opportunity to obtain $10,000 in funding in addition to the $5,000 available through the Mobile Tech track.

“We know that students throughout our region have great ideas and tremendous potential as changemakers. We encourage them to submit proposals to make a positive impact on the 4Ps: people, planet, profit and peace,” said Grace Michel, assistant director of the University of San Diego’s Center for Peace and Commerce.

Winners from 2015 included a proposal for an off-grid water purification system to sustain communities with clean water during emergencies, an innovative mental health program for underserved communities in San Diego, and an adaptive toilet seat designed for victims of landmine explosions.

Students with changemaking ideas will receive assistance to develop their proposals through a process that includes workshops, coaching, and mentoring. The Social Innovation Challenge includes three rounds of judging and students who advance to the semi-final round will receive coaching from experts from the social impact sector. Those who make it to the final round will be paired with mentors and those who win funding will receive ongoing mentoring during the first six months of their venture development.

“The Social Innovation Challenge is a significant learning experience for students and a tremendous opportunity for them to create the change they want to see in the world,” Michel added.

To learn more about the Social Innovation Challenge, go to Students must apply by Feb. 15, 2016. Finalists will pitch their projects to judges on April 26 and awards will be announced at a public ceremony at the University of San Diego on April 29.

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 9,000 students from 69 countries and 50 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. The university's eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD's Envisioning 2024 strategic plan capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.