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Announcing the 2017 Social Impact Challenge Winners


Review this year's winning social enterprises developed by ThinkCERCA students


This winter, student teams from across the country pitched their ideas for profitable, social impact-driven businesses. The third annual Social Impact Challenge brought forth compelling student ideas to combat community problems, empower individuals with unique needs, and evangelize for important social issues.

This year, we're honored to recognize three winners who developed organized, conscientious, and efficient business models that show potential for impact and growth. As a prize, each winning team will receive a $100 Amazon gift card, feedback from the ThinkCERCA team about next steps for the business plan, and a pizza party for their entire class.

Keep an eye out for these student entrepreneurs – they're already thinking of ways to drive sustainable impact. They just might be starting businesses in the near future.

High School Winner: "Showers in Africa"

Alyssa Dunstan, Sarah Catania, Corey Peacock

The team from South Forsyth High School in Georgia developed a plan to help reduce the spread of disease and infections in communities where residents lack access to clean water. The Showers for Africa team laid out a plan for selling soaps at four to five times their production cost in order to raise the money needed to buy materials and pay for the labor required to construct showers. The ThinkCERCA judges were impressed with this team's attention to detail – they cited research, identified business and marketing partners, calculated the cost of materials for each shower, and diligently analyzed how they would measure growth.

Middle School Winner: "Water Filtration"

Jacob Kanarowski and Matthew Gutierrez

The team from St. Juliana Catholic School in Chicago brought forth an inventive idea with potential for environmental impact. The team proposed adding water filtration systems to sink pipes, thereby conserving and reusing water that flows down the drain. The team researched U.S. water waste, identified competitors, and mapped out their plan to grow the business – starting out local, then expanding across the country (and, potentially, the world).

Elementary School Winner: "Book Drive"

Lincoln Allred

Lincoln Allred, a fourth grade student at Sara Harp Minter Elementary School in Georgia, wrote a business pitch for a book drive that would send books to kids across the country. Lincoln plans to start out by gathering donated books at his school, and expanding to the local library if he sees success at the school level. In his pitch, Lincoln said, "I want to do this because I love books and I think every kid should deserve a good book." 

Mallory Busch
Mallory Busch

Mallory Busch is ThinkCERCA's Editor of Content Strategy. A graduate of Northwestern University, Mallory came to ThinkCERCA from stops in audience strategy at TIME magazine and news applications development at Chicago Tribune and The Texas Tribune. She holds degrees in Journalism and International Studies, and was a student fellow at Knight Lab in college.