University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Acara is the impact entrepreneurship program of the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment in partnership with the College of Science and Engineering and the Carlson School of Management. Through Acara’s courses, workshops and field experiences, students develop impact ventures that address societal and environmental challenges.


Acara India Global Seminar – May-Term 2015

On Acara’s three-week global seminar to Bangalore, India, we’ll learn about solutions to challenges in water, energy, waste, health and agriculture through entrepreneurs, local leaders, and communities. This course is open to undergrad and grad students from all majors. Read “Trash Walking to Trash Talking – Acara Students’ Internship at Waste Ventures India” to learn of experiences of 2014 students.

CE 5571/SUST 3480 – Acara Global Venture Design: Grand Challenges – Minnesota, USA – Spring 2015

The Acara Grand Challenge course is a four-credit  venture design course in which students create business solutions to address social and environmental challenges in Minnesota in cooperation with students and professional mentors from diverse backgrounds. The course will be offered Fridays 9 am–noon in Spring 2015. This course is open to grad students and upper level undergrads from all majors. See the course webpage for more information.

CE 5572 – Acara Social Venture Launchpad – J-Term 2015

Social venture Launchpad is a two-credit impact venture design course in which students develop their ideas for business solutions to address grand social and environmental challenges. It is offered Jan. 12-16, 2015. This course is open to grad students and upper level undergrads from all colleges. A requirement to join the course is having an existing idea to solve a grand challenge through business. See the course webpage for more information.

Acara Challenge 2015

The Acara Challenge competition rewards UMN students creating venture solutions to the world’s social and environmental challenges. If you have an idea to change the world, apply for the Acara Challenge 2015 competition. The competition provides awards up to $1000 per team with opportunity to apply for an Acara Venture Award of $5000 following the competition to pilot, launch, or grow your venture. Check out past Acara Challenge winners here. Applications are due by January 23, 2015.



apply now 4011-5570



apply now 5571


apply now 5572


apply now 2015 acara challenge

Acara 2014/2015 Courses and the Acara Challenge

The Acara sequence of courses, and subsequent Acara Challenge competition, offer a unique way to get involved in creating impact venture solutions for social and environmental change. Find out about the courses and the Challenge.  Learn more

Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award (SISCA)

DOW SISCA Challenge Winners

SISCA, a program of IonE and the Dow Chemical Company, recognizes and rewards students and universities for innovation and research that encourages and promotes sustainable solutions to the world’s most pressing social, economic and environmental problems.  Learn more

Discovery India – UMN Study Abroad – Bangalore, India

Acara Workshop Day 1 - Bangalore

In May 2014,  we spent three weeks learning about development challenges and creating venture plans with UMN students in Bangalore, India. Through field trips and interactions with entrepreneurs we explored topics such as water, energy, waste, and food. Learn more

Acara is the impact entrepreneurship program of the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment in partnership with the College of Science and Engineering and the Carlson School of Management.