GSEC 2012 welcomed 16 semi-finalist teams representing more than 10 countries to Seattle. Teams were selected from an applicant pool of 170 submissions from student teams in 49 countries. Learn about the winning teams from the 2012 Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition.
Aashar Ful, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
Aashar Ful provides an eco-friendly solution to extreme shoelessness by supplying poor children with shoes made from an abundant and underutilized plant, the water hyacinth, and engages poor rural women in supply chain and production process.
Astraz, University of Washington, USA
Astraz uses technology to optimize information flow within developing country supply chain and distribution systems. FoneAstra is a device that uses sensory and cellular technologies to monitor temperatures in the cold chain and diagnose problems in the system as they occur, enabling timely intervention to prevent the loss of vaccines due to temperature deviations, resulting in a higher number of vaccines available for administration to the 2.4 million children who die from preventable diseases each year.
Bloorx!, Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria
Bloorx seeks to expand the career and educational opportunities of Nigerian students by providing them with relevant and timely information about local and international opportunities that they are eligible for. By offering free services that meet the deepest needs of Nigerian students Bloorx will make significant social impact and by offering premium services to organizations Bloorx will be a profitable, scalable and sustainable venture.
Dartmouth Humanitarian Engineering, Dartmouth College, USA
DHE brings renewable electricity to rural Rwanda with low-cost, small-scale hydro-power installations. DHE’s innovative battery-charging model allows it to reach scattered populations at an affordable price.
EYEChina, University of Oklahoma, USA
Solving the problem of curable blindness in Sichuan Province, China through affordable and accessible cataract surgery through an innovative network of provincial hospitals, global non-profits, and local surgeons. By incentivizing local physicians to focus their training and work on this important rural issue, it provides access to affordable care delivered by surgeons trained specifically to perform large quantities of quality cataract surgeries. Additionally, the EYEChina model treats many of the underlying causes of cataract blindness through patient-focused education combined with widespread marketing.
Green Fuel, Kyambogo University, Uganda
This business is about utilizing rubbish as an alternative to charcoal for sustainable energy, to save the forests in Uganda while enabling income generation for poor communities. The resources and money saved on deforestation for firewood will now be invested in training people on tree planting and conserving nature, allowing investments for citizens to work and earn income for their families instead of working cutting down trees for charcoal.
Greenovation Technologies, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
We provide the marginally poor and homeless with affordable, secured, eco-acceptable, and long-lasting housing because we believe that proper housing leads to better earning and education opportunities which lead to greater well-being. Our unique product has low production costs and superior properties compared to its nearest alternatives, making it the ideal candidate for solving the global issue of 3 billion people being homeless all around the world.
Hakizamungu, National University of Rwanda, Rwanda
The business promotes bee keeping and honey production in order to further honey for sustainable development in the rural areas of Eastern Rwanda. The company will help indigenous bee farmer by introducing a technological method of honey processing, and providing training about the honey processor and manufacturing process.
Jola Venture, Northeastern University, USA
Jola venture seeks to improve agriculture production in Cameroon through its patented solar food dehydrator innovation. Our solar food dehydrator is an effective, low-cost provider of a solution to food spoilage that is common among most developing nations. The Solar-POD extends the shelf lives of perishable food items, giving users a simple and cost effective means of food preservation. Our business model incorporates a sustainable and micro entrepreneurship empowerment act that will greatly improve the socioeconomic standards of the target population.
Project Akshar, Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, India
Project Akshar provides deaf women with an entrepreneurial opportunity that enables them to generate income through book binding skills that are imparted to them. The business creates entrepreneurial opportunities for a community in need (currently hearing impaired women) by reusing paper to manufacture environment friendly notebooks and at the same time providing children in rural areas with affordable educational aides.
Ruby Cup, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Ruby Cup is a menstrual cup, which is an alternative menstrual hygiene product made of medical grade silicone that can be re-used up to 10 years. Rather than absorbing the menstrual fluid like disposable products, Ruby Cup collects it during the period. It is emptied, washed and boiled between periods. Ruby Cup will begin in Kenya.
SasaAfrica, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA & University of Nairobi, Kenya
SasaAfrica offers an innovative and independent platform for female artisans and entrepreneurs in Africa to create micro-enterprises, connecting developing world vendors to global e-commerce, even if they do not have access to the Internet, a computer, or a bank account, reaching even the most remote communities of entrepreneurs. Focused on promoting under-served communities, SasaAfrica aims to shorten the distance between vendors in developing nations and the global marketplace by integrating MMS uploads, SMS notifications, and mobile money payments with an e-commerce storefront.
Segito Technologies, Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (Victoria Jubilee Tech Inst.), India
The Segito business model provides assistive educational technologies for blind people which can reduce illiteracy rates, increase potential for employment and create employment opportunities for blind people. We have developed a patent-pending multifunctional educational device that enables blind people to educate themselves independently in absence of skilled teacher. It is an urgent need in developing countries due to decreasing number of Braille teachers.
Seraab, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan
Seraab sells cost-effective irrigation water to the small farmers of rural Punjab on an hourly basis through the existing water distribution system (the Wari system) using solar tube wells to extract the ground water. By installing and operating solar-powered tube wells to extract ground water and ensuring year round water availability, Seraab increases a small farmer’s revenue and reduces their water procurement cost.
Srujna, Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research, India
Srujna creates sustainable social and financial impact in the lives of rescued victims of human trafficking though market-led vocational training programs, such as making jewelry, for rescued victims of human trafficking, thereby empowering them to be independent and self-reliant. Artisans will help in manufacturing jewelry.and the sale of this jewelry will ultimately help in making the organization sustainable.
Toilet+, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
Toilet+ aims to bring poor villagers in Bangladesh safe sanitation coverage by availing microcredit assistance, and providing economic incentive to use toilets. It also creates local entrepreneurship by training local unemployed youth to produce organic fertilizer from waste. Simultaneously, by contributing to meet the high demand of fertilizer in the rural market, it will benefit the poor farmers and create a stable income source for the entrepreneurs.
Vela Chas Inc. (VCI), University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
Vela Chas Inc. (VCI), aims to reduce the severe unemployment problem in the coastal areas of Bangladesh through engaging the poor people in cultivating vegetables in the floating farmland made with water-hyacinth. Making floating water-hyacinth farmland possesses some unique advantages: provides affordable fresh food in coastal regions; expands the market for selling the agricultural products in cities; uses no fertilizer; reduces the unemployment problem through engaging the poor people in cultivation and helping them become self-reliant.
Watch the slideshow for pictures of the 2012 Trade Show below:
*This post has been updated with information regarding the winners and a photo slideshow*