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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. Through Acara’s courses, workshops and field experiences, students develop impact ventures that address societal and environmental challenges.
The Acara Challenge competition rewards UMN students creating venture solutions to the world’s social and environmental challenges. If you have an idea to change the world, apply for the Acara Challenge 2015 competition. The competition provides awards up to $1000 per team with opportunity to apply for an Acara Venture Award of $5000 following the competition to pilot, launch, or grow your venture. Check out past Acara Challenge winners here. Applications are now closed for 2015!
The 2015 Acara Challenge (#acarachallenge) will occur at the McNamara Alumni Center (directions and parking info here) on the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus February 26, 2015 8am-4pm. The public reception and award ceremony will occur 5:30-8:30pm. Detailed schedule is here – Schedule for Feb 26- updated and the summary of all teams competing is here: Acara Challenge 2015 Summaries. All events are free and open to the public. The presentation during the day are webcast at this link. You can financially support the venture ideas of current Acara Challenge team via this link.
The Acara Grand Challenge course is a four-credit impact venture design course in which students create business solutions to address social and environmental challenges in India in cooperation with students and professional mentors from diverse backgrounds. The next available course will be offered Fridays 9 am–noon in Fall 2015. This course is open to grad students and upper level undergrads from all majors. Applications for Fall 2015 are now being accepted on a rolling basis. The priority deadline is June 1, 2015. See the course webpage for more information on how to apply.
On Acara’s three-week global seminar to Bangalore, India, we’ll learn about solutions to challenges in water, energy, waste, health and agriculture through entrepreneurs, local leaders, and communities. This course is open to undergrad and grad students from all majors. Read “Trash Walking to Trash Talking – Acara Students’ Internship at Waste Ventures India” to learn of experiences of 2014 students. Application is open.
The Acara sequence of courses, and subsequent Acara Challenge competition, offer a unique way to get involved in creating impact venture solutions for social and environmental change. Find out about the courses and the Challenge. Learn more
SISCA, a program of IonE and the Dow Chemical Company, recognizes and rewards students and universities for innovation and research that encourages and promotes sustainable solutions to the world’s most pressing social, economic and environmental problems. Learn more
In May 2014, we spent three weeks learning about development challenges and creating venture plans with UMN students in Bangalore, India. Through field trips and interactions with entrepreneurs we explored topics such as water, energy, waste, and food. Learn more