University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

The Acara sequence of courses, and subsequent Acara Challenge, is a unique way to create venture solutions for social and environmental change in the US and internationally.

By participating in the Acara program, students will:

  • Experience a real world challenge.
  • Seek venture solutions to a problem — solutions that are innovative, scalable, and impactful.
  • Become effective in teamwork, leadership, and interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Collaborate with domestic and international industry mentors, experts and students.
  • Have opportunities to develop their venture solutions beyond the course.

GCC 5005: Global Venture Design – What Impact Will You Make?

In GCC 5005 upper level undergrads and grad students work on multidisciplinary teams of to develop scalable venture solutions to address global environmental challenges. The Fall 2015 course will focus on developing venture solutions to address water, energy, food/agriculture, health and livelihoods challenges in India.

CEGE 4011/5570: Design for Sustainable Development – Discovery India

In this study abroad course you will explore urban and rural development challenges in India through the eyes of entrepreneurs, local leaders, and communities. Via this class, students will explore entrepreneurial and engineering solutions to environmental and societal challenges.

CEGE 5572: Social Venture Launchpad

CEGE 5572 is an intensive one-week course on how to turn an idea into a viable social business model. No prior experience with a business class is needed. The course is geared towards a multidisciplinary audience, with a wide variety of skills and backgrounds. The goal of the class is to work on ideas that address a grand challenge in a financially self-sustaining manner.

Acara Spring Institute: Idea to Impact

This spring workshop series is for anyone in Minnesota with an idea for social or environmental change, whether that idea is on the back of a napkin, in a detailed business plan or already running. Each spring a series of three courses is offered in this workshop series.

CSE 1002: Design for Grand-Challenge Innovation

Students taking this class will apply for funding via the 109 (“10 to the 9th”) competition: In 1000 hours and with up to $1000, how can you positively impact 1000 people on a Grand Challenge topic. Teams can also enter other competitions, such as the Acara Challenge. This class provides a 1-credit introduction to finding a problem & solution. Students work in teams, with freshmen from Carlson School of Management.

Who can enroll in the courses?

Acara courses are intended for graduate, professional and upper level undergraduate students. There are no prerequisites for these classes. These courses are intensive leadership and entrepreneurship courses. More information on potential Acara program student tracks is here. Instructor permission is required for CEGE 4011/5570 and CEGE 5572. Please contact Fred Rose at for more information on applying.


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.