University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota: Department of Mechanical Engineering

Two ME students among winners of 2014 Acara Challenge

Eleven teams of student entrepreneurs from across the University of Minnesota, including two Mechanical Engineering students, are winners of the 2014 Acara Challenge, a competition co-sponsored by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment and the College of Science and Engineering.

The selected teams have the opportunity and resources to further develop their innovative business solutions for environmental and social challenges.

The Acara Challenge, which began in 2009, spurs start-ups with creative, sustainable solutions that can have an impact in the real world. Winning teams receive prizes of varying dollar amounts and each member also receives individual scholarships to the Acara Spring Institute in St. Paul or Summer Institute in Bangalore, India. Select ventures are also invited to receive up to $5,000 in additional venture funding to pilot their idea.

“On this fifth anniversary of the Acara Challenge, we are especially proud of this year's teams, which form the most promising and diverse cohort of U of M change-makers we've had the opportunity to work with," said Acara co-director Fred Rose. "We are excited to fund and incubate the winning start-ups over the coming year as they develop their venture plans into operational social enterprises, generating revenue and impact in Minnesota and abroad.”

The 2013–14 Acara Challenge winners from Mechanical Engineering are:

Stefan Lundell

Team name: Sabujawalla
Award: International Gold ($1,000 toward pilot expenses)
This venture will employ waste pickers to collect and sort waste from Indian households, then sell plastic and organic material to scrap dealers and recycling plants.

Reed Saunders

Team name: Women for Water
Award: International Silver ($750 toward pilot expenses)
The organization recruits women from low-income families in Bangalore, India, to give their friends and families educational presentations and promote and sell water treatment technologies.

College of Science and Engineering News Release