ECenter Teams Win Big at the Social Venture Innovation Challenge

Friday, February 5, 2021

This fall, ECenter-based teams won big at the 2020 Social Venture Innovation Challenge (SVIC), hosted by the UNH Changemaker Collaborative. All of the finalists from UNH were ECenter-based teams and were coached by Ian Grant, executive director of the ECenter. “Some ideas were worked on for only a few months by first-year students from the ECenter Idea + Innovation Society and other teams have been working on their ideas at the ECenter for several years,” commented Grant. “What they all have in common is passion, curiosity, and a willingness to put it all out there. We are very proud of everyone’s success.” 

Due to the pandemic, the SVIC was virtual this year. Organizers also introduced a new prize structure. Instead of the traditional first place, second place, etc., the categories were: Best Articulated Problem, Most Original Innovation, Most Impact Potential, Most Financially Sustainable Solution, Most Impactful Story to Engage Stakeholders, Best First-Year Student Entry, and Audience Choice Awards (three prizes). Of those nine prizes, eight went to ECenter-coached teams.

Best Articulated Problem, Most Financially Sustainable Solution, and third place Audience Choice Award went to Scrapp, a free app that combats confusion by using a barcode scanning feature to show you how to correctly recycle common household items. "Scrapp has come a long way since last year's SVIC where we lost well before the finals. Our progress is much to Ian and the ECenter's credit with Ian always setting aside time for us whether it is last minute Q&A prep or hour-long sessions going over business strategies. We truly mean it when we say it is thanks to the hard work Ian has done for us that Scrapp is where it is today," said co-founder Mikey Pasciuto.

Most Original Innovation was awarded to Mongo, a sustainable plant-based protein derived from organic mung beans. High in protein and low in calories, Mongo is a tasty alternative to the limited plant-based options. 

Most Impact Potential and first place Audience Choice Award went to HydroPhos Solutions, a service company that utilizes phosphorus filtration technology to extract phosphorus from wastewater treatment plants then resell this phosphorus to fertilizer companies, recycling the nutrients and extending the lifespan of our global food supply. “The ECenter played a pivotal role in our team’s success in the SVIC. We were coached by the ECenter’s leader, Ian Grant, who is incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic on the topic of entrepreneurship. Ian helped us define our business model, identify important research necessary, streamlined our application process to the SVIC, and helped us refine our pitch once we made Finals. Ian continues to coach HydroPhos Solutions into new horizons, including applying the idea in the real-world. Without the ECenter, HydroPhos Solutions would not be where it is today and I am incredibly grateful for the support they have provided since day one,” said co-founder Jason Plant.

Best First-Year Student Entry was awarded to ROOTS, a collaboration website that allows students, staff, and the community to connect with each other and post ideas or solutions to sustainability challenges.

Second place Audience Choice Award went to MyGreenPlate, an app that will allow users to track the sustainability status of their food consumption habits and offer positive reinforcement for sustainable eating habits.

Congratulations to ECenter-coached finalists Eizent Innovations, MatterVerse, Promised Protection, and SymbioExchange!

A huge thank you to Dr. Fiona Wilson, Faina Buhker, and Cathy Meyer of the Changemaker Collaborative for putting on this great competition year after year, as well as lead sponsors Timberland and Kennebunk Savings.