First Place ($40,000) is won by Impact Toolbox (I-Toolbox) at the Chicago Booth Business School’s prestigious Social New Venture Challenge. Impact Toolbox is a digital incubation platform that provides youths and emerging social entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to learn, network, and access seed funding to transform their ideas for social change into viable social ventures.
“All of our SNVC finalists showed tremendous commitment to driving forward meaningful impact in diverse ways – from providing clean water in refugee camps to making the American democratic process more inclusive for people with disabilities,” said Robert H. Gertner, Joel F. Gemunder Professor of Strategy and Finance at Chicago Booth and John Edwardson Faculty Director of the Rustandy Center. “We are proud of all students who presented their ideas and look forward to continuing to support their ventures as they grow.”
Nearly 20 judges—including experienced social and traditional entrepreneurs, impact investors, nonprofit leaders, and many Chicago Booth alumni—provided feedback throughout the SNVC program. Judges included Keith Breslauer, ’88, founder and managing director of Patron Capital; Tasha Seitz, a partner at Impact Engine; William Towns, managing director of Chi-Town Impact at 4S Bay Partners; and Erik Wallsten, ’04, co-founder and managing partner of Adobe Capital. A full list of judges can be found on the SNVC website.
The Rustandy Center at the Chicago Booth Business School runs the SNVC in partnership with the Polsky Center. This year, 16 teams competed for seven spots in the SNVC finals, including students representing Booth, the College, the Harris School of Public Policy, the Law School, the School of Social Service Administration, and the Pritzker School of Medicine. The SNVC is the cornerstone of the Rustandy Center’s Edwardson Social Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Chicago, which is an initiative named in recognition of a 2016 gift by John Edwardson,’72, retired chairman and CEO of CDW, a leading provider of technology solutions, and co-chair of Advance Illinois, an independent statewide education organization.