The Acara program consists of a set of courses, culminating with the Acara Challenge.
Acara Program objectives include:
- Students will experience a real world situation.
- Students will seek solutions to a problem — solutions that are creative, sustainable, and have real impact.
- Program structure will reflect that important problems require teamwork, leadership, and interdisciplinary collaboration.
- There will be collaboration available outside the regular course.
- Include ways for students to continue to lead and develop their ideas, after the coursework ends.
At the end of the course, each team proposes a business solution for the problem identified. They business proposed may be a for-profit or not-for-profit organization. All teams will be judged by a “venture capital-like” panel. The judging criteria are as follows:
- Problem and Solution Description: What is the solution? How does it address the problem?
- Market description: How the teams identify the market segments? How they assess the parameters of the segment like needs, size, purchasing capacity, etc.?
- Sustainable business model: What is the business model? How does it solve the market’s requirement? Is it sustainable?
Judging by the performance of the teams, a few teams will be advanced to the next round.
The finalists can continue to work on their plan and incorporate the feedback from the judges. The second round of presentations will be conducted..
Based on the teams’ performance and improvement, some teams will receive scholarships and possible seed grants. These teams will also have an opportunity to participate in the University of Minnesota Acara Summer Institute.
* Numbers/dates may vary, please refer to the specific challenge.