COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Competition was so close among University of Maryland student social entrepreneurs in the recent No Limits Social Impact Pitch Competition that the judges awarded two top winners.
The competition was part of the Social Enterprise Symposium, a daylong affair on March 1 that explored the role of business in social and environmental change, hosted by the Center for Social Value Creation at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.
School fitness program KidFit and international mobile money transfer service Payvius shared the first-place status, but not the prize money. In a surprising turn of events, the judges decided to pitch in additional money and award $3,000 top prizes to each company. KidFit also took home the audience-selected People’s Choice Award for $500. In addition to the cash prizes, the winners will also benefit from in-kind mentoring services from the Center for Social Value Creation’s entrepreneurship network including Ashoka, ThinkImpact and PunchRock.
The winners were among five UMD student finalists from schools and colleges across campus, from public policy to business to theater. The students pitched their ideas to improve their communities and the world before a panel of judges and a live audience. Each had six minutes to pitch their idea and four minutes to answer questions from judges. The competition capped off the content portion of the Center for Social Value Creation’s fifth annual symposium event, which attracted more than 1,000 students from across campus.
The “No Limits” finalists also represented UMD’s diverse student population passionate about social value creation and using business principles to create a better world – the main vision of the center.
Maggie Croushore, a master’s of public policy student, runs KidFit. She is currently working with schools to improve their active education (traditionally physical education and recess) delivery.
Mondiu Ladejobi, an executive MBA student, launched Payvius. The low-cost mobile money transfer service that enables secure international money transfers from a sender in the United Sates to any mobile phone in sub-Saharan Africa, and provides recipients with the opportunity to build credit in developing economies.
Competition judges were Jigar Shah, consultant, entrepreneur and author of "The Impact Economy;" Devin Schain, founder & CEO of Campus Direct Inc.; and Lisa Hall, president and CEO of Calvert Foundation, who also delivered the symposium’s afternoon keynote speech.
Other finalists in the competition were:
- Microjusticia, a nonprofit offering pro bono legal services to NGOs in Argentina – run by Juan Bellocq (master’s of public policy, 2013)
- Destinalo.com, a website that connects local and family-owned tourism businesses with independent travelers – run by Cristina Huidobro (master’s of community planning, 2013)
- ProCity, a network for donating unwanted items that benefits charities – run by Christopher Lane (undergraduate, majoring in psychology and theater, 2015)
The competition is led by the Center for Social Value Creation in partnership with the School of Public Policy’s Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership, with support from the Smith School’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship.