Socially Inspired Entrepreneurship – University of San Diego

Socially inspired entrepreneurship was on display at Wednesday’s University of San Diego finals event for the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge (GSIC). 

“I am in awe of these students and their grit, tenacity, and perseverance. It’s no small feat to enter one of these competitions in a normal year, but after a year of remote learning, it’s a huge accomplishment. We had 15 student-created ventures with social impact at the core of their mission and business model,” says Juliet Zimmer, coordinator for the Center for Peace and Commerce. “It’s so encouraging to see these individuals dig in to understand underlying problems and propose their solutions. Some of these students participated in the challenge last year, and many participated in one of the other entrepreneurship competitions on campus this year – these students really are the best of USD. I look forward to continuing to work with them and bearing witness to their growth and impact in our community and around the world.”

Focusing on innovative ideas to address the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, the 15 student teams competed for the chance to win a portion of the event’s $16,500 in seed funding. In addition, the top two USD teams are eligible to compete in the June 12 Fowler GSIC Global Finals, hosted this year by the University of St. Thomas.

With entrepreneurial ideas addressing everything from recidivism in our justice system to social injustices and mental health, the event demonstrated the depth and breadth of USD students’ ingenuity. In the end, R-Viviendas and HBN (“How ’Bout Now”) walked away with the first and second place spots, guaranteeing their place in the June Global Finals. As the top finalist, R-Viviendas was awarded $3,500 in seed funding. In second place, HBN walked away with $3,000 in funding. The two runners up, Womenly in Mexico (third place) and Sunlight U (fourth place) were awarded $2,000 and $1,500 respectively.

In addition to the finalists, the teams also had the opportunity to compete in the following categories, with the award information included below:

Community Choice Award ($1,000): HBN

The COVID Innovation Award ($500 each): 11:11 Community, Project GCI

Wireless Impact Award ($500): HBN

Most Inclusive Award ($500): HBN

Women Innovator Award ($500 each): Proxy Hairwear, Sunlight U, Womenly Mexico, Home Soil Projects

Most Socially Innovative Award ($500): R-Viviendas

Most Resilient Award ($500): Sunlight U

The Social Change Award ($500): Sunlight U

The total seed funding received by the teams is listed below:

HBN $5,000, R-Viviendas $4,000, Sunlight U $3,000, Womenly Mexico $2,500, Proxy Hairwear $500, Home Soil Projects $500, Project GCI $500, 11:11 Community $500

To learn more about the Fowler GSIC please visit

To register for the June Global Finals, please visit the event registration page.

— USD News Center