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Social innovators gathered at this year's I2S Competition.
Social innovators gathered at this year's I2S Competition.
Teams presented business solutions to answer pressing societal issues.
Teams presented business solutions to answer pressing societal issues.

Students Work to Create a Better World at I2S Competition

Scheller MBA students mentored this year’s Ideas to Serve (I2S) participants helping them articulate their social impact assessment, sharpen their pitches, and advise them on financial projections and go-to-market strategies. I2S is Georgia Tech’s platform for social innovation – a competition where students who are passionate about moving the needle on pressing societal issues receive mentoring, participate in workshops and compete for start-up funding. I2S is organized by the Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship in the Scheller College of Business.

Projects compete in two tracks, Ideas and Advanced, depending on their maturity. This year’s top teams in the Ideas Track were Amanzi Solar, an all engineers team that works on improving solar panel efficiency comprised of Matthew Smith, Jake Smith, Alex Simoneaux, and Luke Yates and mentored by MBA student Chris Bergman; Condüit, founded by engineering students Paul Jones and Faith Walker, along with Carolyn Nelson (Scheller College of Business) and Jasper Narvil (Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts), who are creating an app that will help pair young volunteers with nonprofit organizations; and I2MS, led by engineering students Aneeq Zia and Muneeb Zia, who are working on an intelligent irrigation system to help farmers in rural Pakistan.

Amanzi Solar team

The Advanced Track winner was Lunula Health, a TI:GER team that is developing a low-cost and noninvasive method to measure hemoglobin levels using smartphone images of the patient's fingernail beds. The team is led by engineering student Robert Manino, in collaboration with MBA students Prattek Mittal and Anna McDermott.

The audience had a chance to weigh in too, and their favorite team was TINA, a feminine hygiene product for women with limited hand mobility (led by engineering students Ali Knight, Elise Pippert, Sarah Bush, and Janay Harris, mentored by MBA student Lara Ferreira).

For most participants I2S is the first stop for testing the viability of their idea and they use the valuable feedback they receive from judges – who are themselves social entrepreneurs – to improve and pivot their project. Many then go on to participate in the Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC), for which Georgia Tech is the Eastern US Region node. At GSVC teams compete with the top student social innovators from across nine global regions. At the recent Global Finals held at UC Berkeley, Kheyti, the team that advanced through the Georgia Tech round won the top prize.

I2S competition

“Students with a passion for social and environmental change have a great support system at Georgia Tech,” says I2S director, Dori Pap. “They can find courses, workshops, mentors, and funding to turn their passion for creating a better world into reality.”

I2S is made possible by the generous support of Gray Ghost Ventures, Cecil B. Day Program for Business Ethics, Georgia Tech Leadership Education and Development, Georgia Tech Innovation and Design Collaborative, Steven A. Denning Technology & Management Program, Speechworks, Tedd Munchak Chair in Entrepreneurship, The Engineering for Social Innovation Center, The Global Development Program at The Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, the Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain, and the Covenant Presbyterian Church.

A full list of awardees and pictures from the event can be found here.
 

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Susan Ambrosetti
Director of Marketing & Communications