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Harvard announces 10 finalists in the president's challenge for social entrepreneurship

Posted by Your Town  March 25, 2013 02:42 PM

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Harvard University officials announced today that 10 teams of finalists had been selected for the 2013 President’s Challenge for social entrepreneurship, according to the Harvard Gazette.

“The President’s Challenge encourages students from across the University to unleash their creativity, apply their knowledge, and turn their ideas into solutions to the world’s most pressing problems,” said President Drew Faust told the Gazette. “The 10 finalist teams have demonstrated extraordinary ingenuity and commitment, and I look forward to seeing their projects evolve over the course of the semester.”

The teams of students and postdoctoral fellows are trying to solve problems in one of five areas: health, the arts, energy and environment, disaster preparation and relief, or learning, the Gazette said. The ten teams were chosen from a pool of 127 applications.

Provost Alan Garber, a judging committee co-chair for the event, said that in the second year of the President’s Challenge, more students “are proposing impressive projects that can have a dramatic impact in the world.”

“As the i-lab [Innovation Lab] has taken root in the entrepreneurial community, these student teams are tapping into available resources and exploring their own creativity, and their ideas are flourishing as a result,” Garber told the Gazette.

The finalist teams will each be awarded a $5,000 grant and lab space to work on the project. They will also be given an expert mentor to guide them throughout the remainder of the challenge. In late May, the university will announce one winner and up to three runners-up.

The entrepreneurial proposals range from a company that offers free and low-cost standardized test prep, to a group that has developed an online information management system that pledges to cut “the time law enforcement spends on information collection, management, analysis, and reporting by 90 percent.”

Katherine Landergan can be reached at klandergan@globe.com. For campus news updates, follow her on Twitter @klandergan.

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