University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

There are many societal and environmental challenges in the world today. We believe that successful solutions to these difficult and hard-to-define problems are unlikely to emerge from a single person or organization. Acara is therefore dedicated to bringing together a collection of talents, minds and resources represented by diverse teams from academia and industry to collaboratively explore business concepts and create sustainable solutions.


Acara’s mission is to develop practical business solutions that address global societal and environmental challenges. This mission has two components:

  • Education goals
    • Educate and inspire the next generation of leaders.
    • Bring real global challenges into the classroom, requiring all the academic skills of the students plus teamwork, customer research, multi-cultural understanding and real world deliverables.
    • Develop a similar-minded network of university partners.
  • Impact goals
    • Incubate the best ideas and the best students beyond the classroom.
    • Foster an ecosystem of partners and mentors to assist these fledgling ventures.

Acara works to produce the following outputs:

  • A new generation of global leaders – by providing students with an insight into global problems and how to impact change.
  • Practical social venture plans that identify business approaches addressing the broad problems identified by Acara and its partners.
  • A successful launch of the plans.

Program Objectives

Acara has certain program objectives we believe are important.

  • Provide students with real world experience including international teamwork, leadership, and interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Students identify a problem and design solutions — solutions are creative, sustainable, and impactful.
  • Use a competition to inspire realistic solutions and identify passionate leaders.
  • Facilitate students to pilot their venture after the course ends.
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.