University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Gold Winners


BlueFood Fish and Greens

University of Minnesota
BlueFood produces year-round, premium fish and greens for the local foods market in the Twin Cities. Selling primarily to high-end restaurants BlueFood uses proven aquaponics technology to grow mercury-free fish indoors right in our customer’s backyard. Team from University of Minnesota.

Business Plan | Two minute pitch. | Fifteen minute presentation.


Humble Commode

University of Cincinnati and Indian Institute of Technology
Humble Commode is a closed loop waste management business specializing in sustainable sanitation solutions that harness resources and address contemporary concerns of the Gram Panchayats in rural India. By investing in sanitation infrastructure that efficiently harnesses the potential of human waste, Humble Commode increases economic and geographic access to agricultural resources, such as organic fertilizer and compost, that increase agricultural yields and decrease dependence of rural farmers on outside institutions. Team is from University of Cincinnati and Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, India.

Business Plan | Two minute pitch. | Fifteen minute presentation.



University of Minnesota and Xavier Institute of Management
PurePots will offer a clean drinking water treatment method that will enable the residents of Salia Sahi slum in Bhubaneswar,  India to pull themselves out of poverty and enjoy a previously unattainable quality of life. PurePots will manufacture a reliable source of clean drinking water utilizing a silver-impregnated ceramic pot. A water storage vessel and ceramic filter pot combine to form an easy to use, low-cost water filtration system to meet the needs of residents in Salia Sahi for an affordable drinking water treatment method. Team from University of Minnesota and Xavier Institute of Management (XIMB), Bhubaneswar, India.

Business Plan |  Two minute pitch. | Fifteen minute presentation.

Silver Winners



University of Cincinnati and Vellore Institute of Technology
Cincivell is offering a low tech but highly effective way for the tanneries in Tamil Nadu, India to remove the hexavalent chromium from their run-off.  Bagasse fly ash is the waste product of the sugar industry.  Famers in the area have an abundance of the material that has no current or effective use.  The Cincivell design encases the bagasse and uses it as a filter to capture the hexavalent chromium to remove it from the waste water.  Team from University of Cincinnati and Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore, India.

Business Plan | Two minute pitch. | Fifteen minute presentation.



University of Minnesota and Xavier Institute of Technology
NutriCycle will seize the opportunity presented by India’s growing composting and urban agriculture movements, bringing these efforts and their associated benefits to Bhubaneswar. Partnering with the Aradhana apartments during their pilot phase, Nutricycle will demonstrate the ability of community composting to improve the existing waste management system, while empowering their clients to become more self-reliant, helping them grow their own fresh, healthy vegetables. Team from University of Minnesota and Xavier Institute of Management (XIMB), Bhubaneswar, India.

Business Plan | Two minute pitch. | Fifteen minute presentation.

Bronze Winners



University of Minnesota
An app store where developers agree to donate a significant portion of their revenue to a general fund.  In return developers get two things:  First their app is screened, reviewed and potentially featured on doGoodApps highly exclusive site thus gaining access to a new users base.  Second, by contributing the general fund they can do good in the world.  The general fund that the developers donate to will be distributed to a different non-profit organization quarterly.  And the organization receiving the funding will be chosen by both users and developers through an online voting process. Team from University of Minnesota.

Business Plan | Two minute pitch. |  Fifteen minute presentation.


TurtleKing Workshop

University of Minnesota
TurtleKing Workshop designs, builds and sells Minnesota-made longboards. In addition to providing an envrionmentally friendly means of local transportation, TurtleKing will be based in the neighborhood adjoining the University of Minnesota and incorporate a work-training program for local youths into their business structure. Team from University of Minnesota.

Business Plan | Two Minute Pitch. | Fifteen minute presentation.

Honorable Mentions


Community Shops

University of Minnesota Xavier Institute of Technology
Community Shops plans to bring goods to consumers, many of whom can only afford basic necessities, for a lower price. Lower prices will be achieved through a bulk buying and distribution strategy. Community Shops is a simple idea that will generate a tremendous impact in the community. On top of providing lower prices, Community Shops plans to transition stores over to local Community Based Organizations (CBOs) after one year in operation. Team from University of Minnesota and Xavier Institute of Management (XIMB), Bhubaneswar, India.

Business Plan | Two minute pitch. | Fifteen minute presentation.


Halki Kursi

Cornell University and K.J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research
Halki Kursi is an affordable, compact seating solution which is ergonomically designed to reduce physical pain and to improve overall productivity. It is designed specifically for women from urban slums near fishing docks who are involved in fish and prawn cleaning. This work requires them to sit on ground for long hours in physical positions which lead to pain in areas such as the back, knee, and shoulders.  Halki Kursi is lightweight, foldable, can be carried like a backpack, and will have a provision to carry their work tools as well. Team from Cornell University and K. J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies & Research, Mumbai, India.

Business Plan | Two minute pitch. | Fifteen minute presentation.

Student Organization Partner Award


TeslaWorks Labs

University of Minnesota
Tesla Works Labs is designing an innovative and inspiring lab space for innovators on the U of MN campus. The lab space has already been approved by campus administrators and the team has raised significant funding for equipment and supplies. The project was started by Tesla Works, a student group on campus, but will be open to all students with an idea and plan to build something awesome. Tesla Works Labs is seeking advice and input on making this workspace useful for social innovators. Team from University of Minnesota.

PlanFifteen minute presentation.

In addition to the above list, Acara continues to work with several ventures (and venture ideas) of past Acara students. These ventures were in the poster session and gave a short pitch in the evening session.

Eat for Equity

We bring people together around good food to raise money for the greater good. We gather in different homes each month in different cities to eat local, organic meals made from scratch. And in coming together, we manage to do some small good for a community larger than ourselves. E4E is a monthly community meal to raise funds and build community for nonprofit causes. E4E now has official chapters in Minneapolis, Portland, Ozarks, Madison, and Boston. They had had events in Stamford, Chicago, Washington DC, Phoenix, San Francisco and Santa Cruz in 2012 and these locations are expected to become chapters in 2013.

Feed Our Roots

An online social network site to engage communities and individuals in neighborhood composting.


HSD Sanitation, short for Health, Safety, Dignity and Sanitation provides the whole package needed for better sanitation in rural India. By working with our partners in India, we are able to provide the educational, financial and logistical support necessary to building toilets in rural villages. Essentially, HSD will sell toilets to rural villagers at a cost they can afford.


MyRain works with local farmers and retailers to identify challenges with small plot farming. We then search the world for great products and work to distribute in underserved markets through our dealer network in southern India. With the mission of enabling sustainable economic development for small plot farmers, MyRain continues to expand its dealer network and product offerings every day!

no thro – Resuable containers to go

No thro is a subscription service that will allow Twin Cities consumers to purchase takeout meals in reusable containers from participating restaurants — and then return the containers to be washed and reused millions of times.

Perk Health

Perk Health is a MN company that provides services for employee wellness for mid-sized companies, to help them manage burgeoning health care costs. Their service include a personalized virtual personal trainer.

University-Dinkytown Grocery Store

This is a grocery store which focuses on offering students a convenient option for healthy and affordable groceries alongside of helpful nutrition and cooking counseling that students need to live a healthy lifestyle. One of the least addressed yet most important aspects of the student experience is living off-campus. From high school to their own apartment or house in under two years students make the transition from their parent’s kitchen, to the dorm cafeteria, and finally to their own place off campus, a discovery of what it means to live with others, of their own eating habits and priorities, of their probably not so good cooking skills. Making this a healthy transition is one of the objectives of this store.

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.