University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

The Acara Challenge final presentations and open house will occur on Friday, February 21st. The Acara Challenge is an annual presentation to review the best ideas for social and environmental change fostered through Acara’s courses and programs. The event will be held at the McNamara Alumni Center, an award-winning meeting and event venue located on the University of Minnesota’s East Bank Campus. Presentations are in the Maroon and Gold Room. The poster session is in the University Hall.

Final Presentations – 8am-4pm: The event includes international and domestic division presentations from  top student entrepreneurs at the University of Minnesota. Each team will have 10 minutes to pitch followed by 10 minutes for Q & A. The international division presentations will occur 8am-12:30pm while the domestic division will take place 12:30-4pm. The final presentations will be webcast at

The final teams include:

International Division

  • Women for Water – 8:15am
  • Sun Farms – 8:45am
  • Skivvies – 9:15am
  • Help Desk – 9:45am
  • Break – 10:15am
  • Tech-Share – 10:30am
  • Sustainability Solutions – 11:00am
  • Sabujawalla – 11:30am

Domestic Division

  • BDW Biotechnologies – 1:15pm
  • Veterans Capital Partners – 1:45pm
  • Dam Power Company – 2:15pm
  • Break – 2:45pm
  • College Credit – 3:00pm
  • Mighty Axe Hops – 3:30pm

Acara Open House – 5:30pm-8:30pm: The event will include a display of posters inspired by the team’s ideas accompanied by appetizers and cocktails from 5:30-6:30pm. Following the poster session, from 6:30-7:15pm, we will feature 2-minute presentations from each team. An awards ceremony will follow 7:15-7:30pm with wrap up after 7:30pm. Guests may RSVP here.

Questions concerning the event logistics can be directed to Molly Buss ( or 612-626-9553).

About the Acara Challenge Competition

The University of Minnesota Acara Challenge recognizes and rewards students developing solutions to the world’s most pressing social and environmental problems.

The competition is open to full time and part time undergraduate, graduate and professional students, competing as a team or individually, enrolled at all campuses of the University of Minnesota. See the Challenge flyer.

Award Details

The Acara Challenge aims to help student social entrepreneurs develop and launch their venture ideas. Ideas and teams enter at various stages of maturity. While inspiration may start with a sudden insight, innovation itself is a journey. As such, the Acara Challenge is set up not to provide just one big prize but many smaller awards and ongoing opportunities to help the best teams move their ventures forward.

Awards include:

  • Cash awards up to $1,000 per team and an invitation to apply for an Acara Venture Fellowship, which can provide up to $5,000 in additional funding per team.
  • Depending on the location of your solution, admission and tuition for the Acara Social Venture Challenge course held at the University of Minnesota in Spring 2014 or Admission and tuition for the Acara/Indian Institute for Human Settlements Summer Institute in Bangalore, India.

Information Sessions

To learn more about the 2014 Acara Challenge, we recommend attending an upcoming information session. Information sessions will occur:

Application Process and Timeline

There are two categories for the Acara Challenge: domestic (ventures focused inside the United States) and international (ventures focused outside the United States). In addition, to encourage applications from freshmen and sophomore undergrads, we will have a separate prize for the best team consisting only of undergraduate students in their first or second year.

  • January 24, 2014. Entry deadline at 5pm CST. Entry is via the Acara Challenge entry form.
  • January 31, 2014. Finalists announced.
  • February 14, 2014. Final plans due. See the Guidelines and Rules for application requirements.
  • February 21, 2014.  Acara Challenge Finals.

Interested students should review the full Acara Challenge 2014 Guidelines and Rules. Updated 1/23/14.


For more information contact Fred Rose at acara {at} or visit

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.