In 1978, Cliff Ensley ’69, ’70, G’71 had an idea to start his own business and just $2,500 to do it. He was used to taking on challenges—there was no stopping him. Growing up, he struggled with a learning disability—at…
Applications Open for LaunchPad 2020 Impact Prize
Blackstone LaunchPad and Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries (LaunchPad) is accepting online applications now through Nov. 1 for the Impact Prize, a competition for social entrepreneurship. The Impact Prize is open to Syracuse University and State University of New York Environmental Science and Forestry students taking entrepreneurship classes at the University and working on ventures that create a social impact. The virtual competition, to be held on Nov. 13, will feature $15,000 in prizes thanks to generous donations from Libraries’ donors Carl and Marcy Armani, in honor of Dr. Gay Culverhouse, and Dr. Gisela von Dran.
Impact Prize applications can be products, services, or technologies that are practical, innovative, and sustainable solutions to societal problems anywhere around the globe. Examples of ventures may include solutions that address energy, environment, employment, education and training, health and mental health, community and social networks, social inclusion, poverty and literacy, youth empowerment, food, sustainability, access, and important public policy goals. This year, COVID-19 response ideas are also encouraged. The Impact Prize is a gateway to the iPrize competition and other global competitions, such as the Hult Prize.
This year’s competition includes a $10,000 Dr. Gay Culverhouse Impact Award prize package through a gift from SU Libraries Advisory Board Member Carl Armani and his wife Marcy, made in honor of Dr. Gay Culverhouse. “The Dr. Gay Culverhouse Impact Award will benefit students directly, and will be used to support student entrepreneurship, invention, and innovation,” said David Seaman, Dean of SU Libraries and University Librarian. “We are very pleased to be able to honor and memorialize Dr. Culverhouse in this fashion and plan to use the Armani gift to support our annual Impact Prize, a competition for social entrepreneurship, which is very much in keeping with the work Dr. Culverhouse did with football players and brain injury. She was clearly someone focused on creating meaningful social impact and change, just as our students are, and I’m sure her story will resonate with them.”
The Impact Prize is also funded through a $5,000 gift to SU Libraries from Dr. Gisela M. von Dran, director emerita of the School of Information Studies’ (iSchool) Master of Science in Library and Information Science program, who has a special interest in social entrepreneurship. As a member of the iSchool faculty, she taught organization management courses at the graduate level. Before joining the iSchool, Dr. von Dran served as an assistant professor of management at the Whitman School of Management. She is the wife of Raymond von Dran, former dean of the iSchool from 1995 until his death in 2007. Von Dran was a longtime academic entrepreneur who started many innovative programs in higher education and supported student innovation and entrepreneurship at Syracuse University. Shortly after his death in 2007, Gisela von Dran established the Raymond F. von Dran Fund.
About the Blackstone LaunchPad & Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries
The Blackstone LaunchPad & Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries is the University’s innovation hub, connecting the entire campus resource-rich ecosystem with a global network that provides support for aspiring entrepreneurs, inventors, and creators. The program serves faculty, staff, students, and alumni across disciplines who are interested in innovation, invention, entrepreneurship, venture creation, careers, entrepreneurial skills, diversity, equity, inclusion, and taking ideas from concept to commercialization. The program supports a key pillar of Syracuse University’s Academic Strategic Plan to create an innovation ecosystem across the institution that prepares participants to be trailblazers in an entrepreneurial world.