The University of San Diego Launches Innovation Week: Ventures Blossoming on Both Sides of the Border

The University of San Diego leads the CaliBaja region in catalyzing student entrepreneurship with its inaugural Innovation Week from April 25 to 29.

More than 200 proposals were submitted for the university’s Social Innovation Challenge (SIC) and V2 (Venture Vetting) competitions where students can win thousands of dollars to turn their ideas into reality. Innovative proposals include a solar-powered mobile food cart that inspires and empowers students to initiate positive social change; a K-12 program to foster STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) interest and solve community problems; and a fertilization system powered by drones.

On Tuesday, April 26, 15 finalist teams of students from USD and other San Diego universities will compete for more than $50,000 in seed funding for their ideas to solve social, economic and environmental challenges at the Sixth Annual Social Innovation Challenge. The event takes place from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, Rooms C and D.

"Seeing so many students experimenting to become innovators and entrepreneurs with impact on 4Ps: People, Planet, Profit and Peace, gives me great hope for the future of society,” said Patricia Marquéz, Dean of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, founder of the Center for Peace and Commerce and the SIC competition. “It also inspires our work in shaping higher education that prepares leaders to respond to the challenges of this century."

New to the 2016 competition are the Mobile Tech Track, sponsored by Qualcomm Wireless Reach and Qualcomm Ventures, offering $5,000 to projects using mobile and wireless technology to address a social challenge and a track offering $10,000 to support women innovators for social change, recognizing that empowering women is crucial to social transformation of communities. The winners will be announced at an Awards Ceremony on Friday, April 29 from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. in the Kroc Institute Theatre.

On Thursday, April 28, from more than 100 submissions, eight teams of students – four from USD and four from universities in Mexico – will compete for a total of $100,000 in cash and in-kind support in the Fifth Annual V2 competition. The event takes places from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice Theatre. Five of the eight V2 finalists are ventures led by women entrepreneurs.

Previous winners have gone on to raise nearly $2 million in additional funding, making the competition a launching pad for entrepreneurial success. “Entrepreneurs represent the future of our economy and we look forward to helping create more success stories,” said Mike Lawless, Clinical Professor of Management at the USD School of Business and the founder of the competition.

To attend and learn more about the Social Innovation Challenge go to

To attend and learn more about the V2 Competition go to



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 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’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 recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that 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.