Skip to Content

The University of Texas at Austin

Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs

Suzi Sosa named Senior Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship

July 20th, 2010

Suzi Sosa, President and Founder of the MPOWER Foundation, has been named a Senior Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship at the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Ms. Sosa will be researching and writing about social entrepreneurship, while helping with the RGK Center’s graduate and undergraduate teaching in this area. She will also continue serving as a Final Judge in the Center’s Dell Social Innovation Competition.

RGK Center Director Frumkin notes: “Suzi brings both a deep understanding and practical experience to the table. We are delighted to welcome her to the RGK Center as a fellow, and we are eager to see the contribution to knowledge and teaching she will make in the area social innovation and entrepreneurship.”

One of the first projects Ms. Sosa will undertake is a joint paper with Frumkin on how social entrepreneurs go about choosing amongst nonprofit, for-profit or even hybrid forms for the organizations they create.

The MPOWER Foundation is an independent, charitable organization supported by the MPOWER Group — a socially committed venture capital fund and portfolio of social impact companies dedicated to the financial empowerment of underserved people. With a vision of a world in which all individuals have an opportunity to participate freely in markets and thereby to escape poverty and disenfranchisement, the MPOWER Foundation funds and operates nonprofit programs, catalyzes strategic public/private and non-profit/private partnerships, and provides an independent forum for the creation and dissemination of ideas that empower the underserved.

Among its programs, the MPOWER Foundation has launched The Empowerment Lab at Harvard University, a cutting-edge applied research center focused on “Trillion Dollar Problems” affecting the underserved, and RISE, a not-for-profit global entrepreneurship program that connects, empowers, and inspires entrepreneurs.

“Our belief is that there is a methodology that can be used to find, vet, and launch socially entrepreneurial ideas, and that by providing budding social entrepreneurs with that framework we can both accelerate the progress and increase the likelihood of success of those ambitious endeavors,” Sosa said.

Previously, Ms. Sosa served as an economic development specialist in the U.S. Department of Commerce, and as a special advisor to the Prime Ministers of Lebanon and Bermuda. Her areas of expertise include: economic development, social entrepreneurship, and impact investing. She has a Masters in Public Administration in International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School, and a B.A. in Plan II from The University of Texas at Austin.

And the winner is…

May 6th, 2010

Congratulations to Shining Hope for Communities! Not only did they win the $50,000 Grand Prize, but they also took home the People’s Choice Award at last night’s Final Event.

Thank you to everyone that attended! And congratulations to all three finalist teams for putting together such amazing projects and presentations. I know it was a tough decision for our judges.

Who will win $50,000?

April 26th, 2010

Semifinalists Announced!

March 8th, 2010

Congratulations Dell Social Innovation Competition Semifinalists!

The RGK Center at the University of Texas and Dell would like to thank all students who submitted ideas in the 2010 Dell Social Innovation Competition. Ideas came from over 200 universities in countries around the world. We applaud the creativity and ingenuity of everyone who participated!

Out of 700 ideas submitted, 60 ideas have been selected as semifinalists to move forward to compete in Round 2 of the competition. The semifinalist list below is a combination of the top ten ideas voted by the public, plus 50 projects selected by the competition judges. For those whose ideas just missed the cut, don’t stop dreaming. We encourage all entrants to refine their ideas and submit again in next year’s competition.

Semifinalists have until 5:00 P.M. CST (23:00 UTC) on April 1 to complete their venture plan and video. Guidelines for the venture plan can be found here. A detailed email will be sent to all semifinalists with more information.

Voting on the second round of competition will re-open shortly. At the start of the second round, the semifinalists are listed in alphabetical order. As soon as the community starts voting, the order will change to the top voted projects. Remember – you can vote on as many projects as you like, but only one vote per project!

Now, here is what you’ve all been waiting for!

2010 Semifinalist Teams

Judge’s Selections (In alphabetical order)

  1. A Safe Vaccine Delivery Device That Does Not Need Refrigeration
  2. AAHAR: Wholesome Food for Rickshaw pullers and Slum dwellers
  3. Ag 4 Africa: A rural development model for Sub-Saharan Africa
  4. AquaValue
  5. Breaking the Wall by ICT
  6. Bringing hope to the lives of amputees one leg at a time.
  7. Chow: The e-Marketplace Where Food Wins
  8. Cost effective two stage evacuated solar still for rural people of India
  9. Creating SMILES – building the nation
  11. Digital Literacy Project
  12. Earth and Bamboo Construction
  13. Educating sustainable entrepreneurs. Cultivating the human potential.
  14. Education Breaking Down Mountains
  15. Enable K-12 teachers to leverage each others’ best lesson content; and reward high value teachers.
  16. Eureka! – Find better ways to do good
  17. Faith-in-Love Hour– innovative currency for Volunteer Incentive Platform
  18. Fighting Poverty in Southern Sudan
  19. From Street On Board
  20. High School Knowledge Database
  21. House a Hero: Helping veterans avoid homelessness.
  22. Innovative business model to create the world’s first global, mission driven micro-insurance company
  23. Karnak Kenaf Company – Kenaf Paper
  24. Kosh – Universalizing Access To Educational Content
  25. Look Smart
  26. Moca Lab: A Laboratory for Promoting Peace and Improving Access to Health Care in Resource-Poor and Conflict Areas in the Philippines
  27. Moringa HOPE Project
  28. OroClean: Gold Mining Solution
  29. Project Yele: A Community Bazaar in Yele, Sierra Leone
  30. Rainwater Harvesting in Kuttanad, India
  31. Redirecting Food Wastes into a Sustainable Urban Agriculture and Aquaculture
  32. Revamping shipping containers as classroom modules.
  33. Running Water International – Clean Water. Healthy World.
  34. Sanergy
  35. Security & Health for farmers & families in China through community-based organic farming
  36. Seed to Feed
  37. Silver Ceramic Cup (SCC)
  38. Sisi ni Amani (“We are Peace”) – Mapping Peace in Kenya
  39. SoluPower: Providing electricity to those who need it most
  40. Speramus – Personalized Online Fundraising
  41. Supporting education and enterprise in Sierra Leone
  42. Sustainable Irrigation for Community Agriculture in Rural South Africa
  43. The DoubleGreen Credit Builder Loan Program
  44. To create an efficient, transparent and structured rice market by establishing a modern platform for the exchange of Farabana rice (Mali)
  45. Trie Health: Incentivizing Healthy Eating to Reduce Obesity One Household at a Time
  46. Tseai Energy Lights Up Sierra Leone
  47. Urban Solar Charging Stations: Carbon Free Mobility
  48. Waste to Watts: Alleviating Energy Poverty Using Repurposed Electronic Waste
  49. We connect students to education opportunities and eliminate the gap between opportunities available to rural and urban students.
  50. Wing Venture Funds: a new financial vehicle for social development

Top 10 by Popular Vote

  1. PoverUP
  2. A Eco-Friendly Business Venture
  3. Computer Learning on Wheels
  4. Hope For Women in Kibera: The Kibera School for Girls and Shining Hope Community Center
  5. Building a Music School for Ugandan Disadvantaged Children
  6. An online market for high-end fashion donations to make a difference
  7. Guatemalan Honey Cooperative for Economic Development
  8. A Social Venture to uplift Indian handicraft industry and help the artisans
  9. BIO-PRO

*One team has been disqualified.

Comments or questions? Contact:

March 1 Deadline – Dell Social Innovation Competition

February 9th, 2010

At a time when more and more of the most complex problems require fresh ideas and insightful innovations, we are seeing the rise of social entrepreneurs who are acting as change agents all around the world. Through the Dell Social Innovation Competition, the RGK Center and Dell challenge and encourage aspiring student social entrepreneurs to bring innovation and change to today’s most pressing social issues.

College students worldwide are invited to enter the 2010 Dell Social Innovation Competition for a chance to win $50,000 to turn their ideas into a new business or nonprofit with a mission to change lives for the better.

We are closing in on the March 1, 2010 entry deadline for the competition. With just a few weeks left to enter, we have already received almost 200 entries from students in 30 countries addressing social issues ranging from poverty to climate change to global health.

Are you a college student with your own world-changing idea? We encourage you to share it by entering the Dell Social Innovation Competition online at:

Along with students, citizens worldwide are invited to comment on, vote for and discuss the ideas in the online community forum.

The RGK Center introduced the Social Innovation Competition in 2006, awarding more than $200,000 in prizes to student social entrepreneurs.