The need to address global and social issues is becoming increasingly important. The Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute at Temple University established the Changemaker Challenge to encourage the development and creation of social impact ideas and ventures with the aim of creating positive change in local communities and around the world.  

As part of Temple University’s Social Impact programming, the Changemaker Challenge consists of a competition alumni panel, workshop series, and culminating pitch competition, and offers mentoring, resources, and seed-funding for potential competitors. During these workshops, you will actively engage in problem-solving, innovation exercises, and other activities that enable you to develop sustainable standout solutions.  

The Changemaker Challenge is open to all members of the Temple University community — students, alumni, faculty, and staff from all 17 of the University’s schools and colleges. Whether you plan on participating in the competition or not, we encourage you to attend this year’s Changemaker Challenge workshop series and learn how you can make a difference. 

Submission Resources

Learn more about our upcoming workshops, receive FREE mentoring on StartupTree, gain access to resources to help you with your submission, and get feedback on your idea with ESA members! 

Eligibility & Rubric

The Changemaker Challenge is open to all members of the Temple University community — students, alumni, faculty, and staff from all 17 of the University’s schools and colleges.   

Whether you plan on participating in the competition or not, we encourage you to attend this year’s Changemaker Challenge workshop series and learn how you can make a difference.  

Eligibility Notice: 

  • Participants can enter the competition as a solopreneur or with a co-founder and are also encouraged to enter with a team of up to four members. 
  • The designated team leader must be a Temple University degree candidate (undergraduate or graduate), alumni, faculty, or staff, and must be a founding member of the team! 
  • Submissions may include a new or an existing idea or venture.  
    • Existing ventures must be less than five years old as of January 1, 2023. 
    • Existing ventures should have raised less than $10,000 from institutional funding including any funding from accelerators, angel investors, competitions, VCs, venture groups, foundations, or grants. 
    • Existing ventures should have revenues of less than $5,000 as of January 1, 2023. 
  • Multi-bottom line, for-profit, not-for-profit, and social impact ventures are all eligible to compete in the Changemaker Challenge. Not-for-profits are eligible but strongly encouraged to have an existing or proposed cash stream to address ongoing sustainability. 

Upcoming Events

As part of Temple University’s Social Impact programming, the Changemaker Challenge consists of a competition alumni panel, workshop series, and culminating pitch competition, and offers mentoring, resources, and seed-funding for potential competitors.

During these workshops, you will actively engage in problem-solving, innovation exercises, and other activities that enable you to develop sustainable standout solutions.

Workshop

Date

Time

Location

Registration

Malcolm Jenkins: From Super Bowl Champion to Social Justice Changemaker November 3rd 4:30 to 6:00 pm Virtual via Zoom Watch Now
Identifying and Defining a Problem Worth Solving November 9th 5:00 to 6:30pm Virtual via Zoom Watch Now
Developing Impactful Innovative Solutions November 16th 5:00 to 6:30pm Virtual via Zoom Watch Now
How I Won the Changemaker Challenge January 18th 5:00 to 6:30pm 1810 Accelerator Register
Funding Your Social Impact Venture and Insuring Financial Viability January 25th 5:00 to 6:30pm Virtual via Zoom Register
Expert Mentoring January 30th 5:00 to 6:30pm Virtual via Zoom Register

 

Previous Winners

2022

Grand Prize
Clean Bee
Nang Kant Kaw Ywat Hseng, Fox ’22 

Clean Bee is an independent social enterprise that aims to reduce poverty and improve conditions for vulnerable communities in Shan State, Myanmar by working to decrease Pyet Karng Highlands’ reliance on opium poppy cultivation. We provide the communities with alternative sources of income through local beekeeping, and sources honey and beeswax from those communities to help support their alternative livelihood, provide value-added branding for their beeswax, and then sell beautifully handcrafted beeswax candles and wild multiflora honey to socially conscious customers and consumers who value high-quality handmade products. We reinvest profits in sustainable beekeeping training, community service activities, and skills training for local women potters and beekeepers to create sustainable change. 

 

Undergraduate Track 

1st Place
Liquid Limbs
James Calcagni, Engineering ’22  

Liquid Limbs is dedicated to improving independence, accessibility, and overall quality of life for people who deal with disability. Our first product, The Shower Leg, is a waterproof prosthetic device specifically designed for the millions of people who deal with lower limb loss in the act of taking a shower. 

 

2nd Place
Growcery
Audrey Lee, Tyler, ’23 

For grocery stores and food-insecure communities who need to connect supply with demand, Growcery is a mobile grocery truck that delivers extra produce from grocery stores to food deserts. Unlike food pantries or charities, Growcery will be mobile and give stores a profit incentive to improve community health. 

 

Upper Track 

1st Place
SVE
Fatimetou Khlil, Fox ’23  

More than 90% of the world’s informal employment is in developing countries, where street vendors suffer from exposing themselves to harsh weather and strong sun, which also affect their daily incomes. Therefore, SVE provides a Smart-Tent powered by solar power, designed for small businesses that can easily transform into a suitcase. Unlike basic umbrellas or leftover fabric tents, our solution will offer a practical and portable sheltered workplace, where street vendors can safely and healthily do their business. And once it shows viability in one country, we will expand it to impact the informal sector globally. “Also, when the rain comes it is difficult, and the sun is too much for my head. When it rains, I must cover my stock with plastic”. Khadiata, 50 years old, said. 

 

2nd Place
Panacea
Heli Majeethia , Medicine ’25  

Panacea is a portable, quick saliva-based sensing system for female hormones. Users breathe into a mouth device, which analyzes the sample on the spot, and outputs easily understandable data onto a smartphone app. We focus on reaching rural areas, where women’s healthcare and traditional laboratory techniques are difficult to access. 

 

Global Innovation
SVE
Fatimetou Khlil, Fox ’ 23  

More than 90% of the world’s informal employment is in developing countries, where street vendors suffer from exposing themselves to harsh weather and strong sun, which also affect their daily incomes. Therefore, SVE provides a Smart-Tent powered by solar power, designed for small businesses that can easily transform into a suitcase. Unlike basic umbrellas or leftover fabric tents, our solution will offer a practical and portable sheltered workplace, where street vendors can safely and healthily do their business. And once it shows viability in one country, we will expand it to impact the informal sector globally. “Also, when the rain comes it is difficult, and the sun is too much for my head. When it rains, I must cover my stock with plastic”. Khadiata, 50 years old, said. 

 

Crowd Favorite
Live More
Robert Long, Fox ’23  

Live More fuses wearable technology with mutual aid to connect burgeoning humanitarians with those who need their support. We’re the first company to integrate near field communication and QR codes with fashion to drive community engagement and social impact. 

2021

Grand Prize
FireFinder
Chloe Hill, Klein, ‘21

FireFinder is a smoke-detecting wildland and forest sensor that helps detect smoke from fires up to 12 miles. FireFinder is a grid-based sensor that utilizes thermal imaging to detect smoke from fires before fires get too serious. 24/7 Monitoring and communication systems to first responders is included in the sensor by means of data collection and distribution.

 

Undergraduate Track

1st Place
Voke (Vote + Woke) Platform
Ebo (Jerry) Nunoo, Fox ‘22

The core value of the Voke Platform is a consumer led social transformation through product traceability and transparency. Voke focuses on keeping the consumer in the driving seat of purchasing choices that seamlessly align with their pro-social impact and sustainability values. We do this by giving consumers access to their individual aggregated purchasing data, comparing this with impact attributes of products and services they buy, and providing insights about the product-value fit based on their individual pro-social values. Our customers choose us because they want a convenient, easy, and proactive way of having social impact through their everyday lifestyle.

 

2nd Place
My TeleHeal
Caitlin Luong, Fox ‘21; Mohammad Rouf, University of Pennsylvania ‘21

Language barriers, cultural stigmas, and high costs present major obstacles for immigrants and non-English speakers living in the United States who are in need of mental health therapy. Through video counseling and online messaging, My TeleHeal addresses these problems by connecting non-English speakers living in America with mental health coaches and therapists living in the patient’s native country and speaking their native language and dialect. As first-generation Americans, our team understands the importance of providing quality mental health care for underserved communities as we aim to alleviate barriers that prevent individuals from receiving the care that they need and deserve. 

 

Upper Track

1st Place
Quarbon
Justin Slusarski, Fox ‘13; Derek Sheehan, Penn State ‘11; Sydney del Cid, Fox ‘17

The Environmental and Social Impact Scorecard + Toolkit to connect consumers with businesses that are actually making a positive impact and maximizing the impact of a business’s sustainable actions. 

 

2nd Place
Mobilizing And Diversifying Elections (M.A.D.E.)
Amanda Morrison, CLA ‘20

For Missouri women, who are underrepresented in local, state and national office, Missouri M.A.D.E.’s six-month Leader to Legislator program is a training series that provides resources, mentorship and networking opportunities with current and former women in office. Unlike current partisan training programs in the state, our non-partisan program will introduce 25 future leaders to diverse political backgrounds and campaign strategies, which will empower them to launch successful campaigns and lead across the aisle.

 

Global Innovation
Handies Gloves
Javier Zamora, Fox ‘22

The reusable and washable glove made for use on a daily basis. Aiming to reduce and substitute the use of disposable gloves such as latex, nitrile and vinyl gloves. 

 

Crowd Favorite
The Duo-Case by Sun and Star Co
Emily Madara, Fox ‘22; Caroline O’Keefe, Fox ‘22

The Duo Case by The Sun and Stars Collective is an environmentally friendly double eyeglass case. Our case safely carries two pairs of glasses, which can range in size, in two separate compartments in one case. Made out of bamboo and cork leather, our unique yin-yang inspired case provides compact convenience in one case that will easily fit in your car’s cup holder. The case has two openings with flaps on either side of the cylindrical case, where once the glasses are set in the case, the flaps will close and securely hold the glasses in place with magnets.

2019

Grand Prize
VacayAbility
Natasha Graves, Fox School of Business & Management ‘18

VacayAbility is an American tourism and hospitality website based company that shows reviews for tourist attractions, hotel and restaurant, focused on disability and inclusive tourism.  The website will provide user generated content, with services free to users to both submit and obtain information about the accessibility of attractions and hospitality based businesses.  

 

Undergraduate Track

TiP the LLC
Nick Lagnese, College of Engineering ‘20

Bias media and polling are advertised to Americans as factual information daily, leaving voters ignorant to the truth. TiP solves this with a voter-education app comparing a database of politicians’ views and voting records to user’s polls, monetizing the user opinion data.

 

Zolo Market
Emma Blosfelds, Fox School of Business & Management ‘20

Zolo Market is a zero waste, low cost grocery store targeting middle to low income consumers who are interested in pursuing a more sustainable lifestyle. This store will utilize bulk bins and donated jars in order to eliminate the single use packaging traditionally seen in grocery stores.

 

CivicTickets
Mia Mangosong, Fox School of Business & Management ’22

For community organizations seeking volunteers, CivicTickets incentivizes individuals to volunteer their time to socially impactful initiatives using in-demand concert and event tickets. CivicTickets seeks to bridge young people’s demand for concert and event tickets with the demand for young people to get involved in their community.

 

Upper Track

COPE
Kourtney Thompson, Fox School of Business & Management ‘21

For Harrisburg, PA residents who struggle with mindfulness and mental health, COPE serves as an interactive self-help exhibit that provides guests with tangible methods to help resolve negative emotions. Unlike other such recreational businesses, COPE will operate on a 1-1 model, offering free sessions to at-risk youth programs in/around the city. 

 

People’s Choice

EarthQuench
John Hallenbeck, Fox School of Business & Management ‘20

For environmentally conscious college students, who have a need for convenience, sustainability, and are environmentally motivated, EarthWater is a reusable bottle that provides cost savings and oceanic sustainability. Unlike reusable competitors such as Swell and Hydroflask, our solution will be preferred because of a QR code on the bottle.

2018

Undergraduate Track

Cibux
Khai Nguyen, College of Science and Technology ‘21

This mobile application functions as a personal meal-prep tool to help solve the problem of food waste, and allows people to lead healthier lifestyles. Users can input their cuisine choice, energy/nutrition needs, expected weekly spending, and choose from a list of food suppliers, including groceries, farms and most importantly, imperfect produce companies. The app will link with their shopping account to get the available ingredients at a store and give out recipe suggestions that show where the food comes from and where it will go if it gets wasted.

 

Earth Cycle
James Seykot, Klein College of Media and Communications ‘19

Earth Cycle invites you to reimagine your relationship with recycling. On our B2C side, we are offering people who recycle credit, changing the narrative of recycling from a boring, faceless interaction to a fun and exciting rewards program. On a B2B side we are encouraging businesses to recycle with us by offering tax credit. Every MINUTE there is the equivalent of a garbage truck of plastic being dumped in the ocean and millions of animals are dying. We are ethically sourcing plastic from oceans and our partners, repurposing it into construction for impoverished communities and into a product line without planned obsolescence.

 

Lingua
Pooja Rampabhu, Fox School of Business ‘21

The key to successfully elevating yourself in anything is confidence, especially in speaking a language that is a gateway to communication in the current globalizing world. Lingua is a non-profit, education- based mobile application that uses a “pen-pal” approach to connect a native English speaker to a child learning English in a developing country through various conversational and interaction techniques and activities. By allowing children to converse on a daily basis to supplement their classroom English education, our goal is to foster the confidence a child would need to succeed and excel amongst their peers around the world.

 

Organic Oasis
Alexa Gingerich, College of Liberal Arts ‘18

Organic Oasis is an afterschool program that combines health, sustainability, and play to teach healthy eating and farming to elementary school children in suburban communities. Kids will learn basic cooking, gardening, and healthy eating skills in a playful manner. The harvests will be donated to families in low-income urban areas. In this effort, we aim to positively influence the children’s perspectives on healthy eating and sustainability and also make healthy foods more accessible.

 

Project Green
Christopher Christensen, Fox School of Business

Project Green is focused on pairing inner-city kids and veterans to take hiking and camping trips to local parks and trails. These veterans use their skills and knowledge from the military to teach kids and get them interested in the outdoors. This provides new skills, confidence, and helps build relationships with nature and kids.

 

The ReTired Project
Luke Moran, University Studies ‘22

The ReTired Project looks to use recycled rubber tires, biodegradable cork, and other recycled plastics to manufacture a variety of footwear including sneakers, sandals, flats, etc. Aside from reducing landfill overflow and air pollution, in partnership with an organization like “Soles4Souls,” for every pair of shoes sold, one pair will be donated to an underprivileged individual in a third-world country or in the United States. Providing adequate footwear to these individuals should help to prevent diseases transmitted through barefoot exposure in unsanitary living conditions.

 

VGN4U
Abigail Misbin, Fox School of Business ‘21

VGN4U is an app that could help bring veganism and plant-based, eco-friendly eating to the masses. VGN4U works by taking a users’ preferred foods and recommending cruelty- and animal-free alternatives and substitutes. By combining a friendly and encouraging user interface and an abundance of products for consumers to choose from, VGN4U can show people how easy eco-eating can be.

 

Upper Track

Airapy
Rachel Cox, Fox School of Business ‘18

For busy people who want to schedule mental health services quickly, Airapy is a web-based platform that allows patients to search for a local therapist, view real-time appointment availability and make a booking–without having to make a call or send an email. The online marketplace eliminates many of the barriers (such as marketing, office rental, utilities, and insurance) that prevent licensed therapists from starting a private practice. Airapy makes it easy for therapists to start seeing patients in a dramatically underserved marketplace.

 

Building Relationships in Communities (BRIC)
Veronica Ayala-Flores, Tyler School of Art ‘16

Building Relationships in Communities (BRIC) is an organization seeking to create stronger neighborhoods by performing small projects that foster constructive and inclusive relationships between traditionally separate communities. At the moment, our efforts are concentrated in the area of North Philadelphia.

 

Dwell City, LLC
Ijanae Jackson, Fox School of Business ‘20

The mission of Dwell City LLC is to “combat gentrification through innovation in affordable housing.” We provide innovative housing solutions for Philadelphians who are considered low to middle income by utilizing community living, reverse flipping, and energy efficiency. Our goal is to provide 10,000 additional units of affordable housing in desirable and convenient locations by 2030. Depending on where a person dwells, s/he will (or will not) have access to: a quality education, a balanced diet, safety, and other basic needs. We want to give every Philadelphian the opportunity to dwell in the city.

 

GreenBox
Joseph Peters, Tyler School of Art

A “gas station” for humans, GreenBox provides a strategic network of automated retail kiosks that sells directly to consumers who are cyclists, runners, and pedestrians along regional trails, parks, and urban centers. GreenBox will increase regional active transportation, increase comfort and reduce anxiety associated with longer distances traveled, reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, reduce CO2 dioxide and other pollutants, reduce motor vehicle congestion, encourage people to get outdoors and be active, and lead to the discussion of social issues.

 

Let’s Dance
Christina Castro-Tauser, School of Theater, Film, & Media Arts ‘18

Let’s Dance is an intergenerational dance project that engages participants in social dances. The project bridges the gap between generations in North Philadelphia while enhancing the quality of life of everyone involved. It allows participants to share a dance and stories with a new friend and neighbor.

 

Nebula Talent Group
Will Bubenik, School of Sport, Tourism, & Hospitality Management ‘18

Nebula Talent Group is a sports and entertainment agency empowering those with intellectual and physical disabilities through talent management and brand consulting. Leveraging the power of relationships, inclusion, community, and brand building, we aim to become the market leader in empowering those with all types of disabilities to create their own future in sports and entertainment.