Social Impact Pitch Competition Finalists Announced

Oct. 9, 2017


The McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship is pleased to announce the six finalists that will compete in the Social Impact Pitch Competition at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 16 in The University of Arizona Student Union Memorial Center South Ballroom. The competition, which is part of the McGuire Center's Social Impact Summit, will award $30,000 in prizes from Microsoft, United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, and The University of Arizona Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice.

The finalists were selected from a competitive applicant pool of 22 social impact proposals. A screening panel selected the finalists based on the startup’s scalability, sustainability and capacity to solve a need – the same criteria that will be used at the Social Impact Pitch Competition, which is the culmination of the day-long Social Impact Summit.

“The screening panel was extremely impressed by the applications,” said McGuire Center Lecturer Rick Yngve, who is spearheading the Social Impact Summit. “Applications targeted a variety of problems, from local issues to global problems, and included proposals for nonprofits, social ventures, and social enterprise. We are excited that the six finalists represent multiple causes, and that the presenters also represent the diversity of our community including a high school student, a veteran, young professionals, and seasoned executives.”

The six finalists are:

  1. Community Resource Warehouse: GAP Community Warehouse brings reclaims product from large corporations and redistributes those items to nonprofits and individuals in need. Presenters: Bekah and Tom Collins.
  2. Creating a Modern Community for Arts Engagement:  The “Arts Engagement Platform” is a digital platform transforming connections between seekers and providers of arts and cultural experiences. Presenters: Julie Lautenbach-Colby and Dillon Walker.
  3.  Global Permanent Investment Account income for generations and generations coming: KaizenRhino Solutions International designed GPIA dividend paying stocks to address entrenched multigenerational poverty and being unbanked. Presenter: Wacinque Amistad Kaizen BeMende.
  4.  Literacy Connects program, Stories that Soar! High: Stories that Soar! High is a new addition to high school drama curriculum focused on community literacy, leadership, and service learning. Presenter: Sharon O’Brien.
  5.  Natio: Natio enables digital news consumers to quickly donate to vetted nonprofits impacting the specific issues covered in news articles. Presenter: Cole Lanning.
  6.  Step Up to Justice (SU2J): Bridging the Justice Gap: We increase access to justice by delivering $1,000,000 per year in donated civil legal services to low-income individuals in Pima County. Presenter: Stacy Rupprecht Butler.

Three winners at the Social Impact Pitch Competition will take home a $15,000, $10,000 or $5,000 cash prize to help launch their social impact program or service. 

In addition to the Social Impact Pitch Competition, the McGuire Center’s Social Impact Summit will feature expert panelists from Arizona and from as far away as Uganda and Colombia. Registration and networking will begin at 8 a.m. at the university’s Student Union South Ballroom.

Keynote speaker Tom Bracy of Conn-Selmer, a division of Steinway Musical Instruments, will speak at 9 a.m. about collaboration and collective social impact, citing examples from around the country where organizations are coming together to create market and product innovations for youth in arts and music education. Heather Hiscox, co-founder and co-director of Nonprofit & Social Impact Programs at Moves the Needle, will follow Bracy with an innovation workshop, “Using Lean Innovation to Solve Local and Global Problems.”

The afternoon will include more than 20 interactive roundtable discussions, with topics ranging from corporate social responsibility, cross-sector partnerships, nonprofit board development, social branding, sustainability, Native American food economics, innovation in STEM and arts, and entrepreneurial education and development for veterans, women, and youth.

“This is a must-attend event for community leaders, entrepreneurs, business managers, nonprofit executives, students and others interested in social innovation,” said McGuire Center Director Remy Arteaga. “Join us for a dynamic day of shared ideas, inspiring discussions and thought leadership.”

The Social Impact Summit is sponsored by Microsoft, United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice, Social Venture Partners (SVP) Tucson, Conn-Selmer, Inc., Moves the Needle, and the University of Arizona Office of Research, Discovery & Innovation.

The Social Impact Summit and the Social Impact Pitch Competition are part of the TENWEST festival. Advance passes for the TENWEST festival are $35 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets purchased on October 16 will cost $50 for adults and $20 for students. Festival passes allow access to most events during the week-long event. Tickets can be purchased at

The McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship's 2017 Social Impact Summit was made possible by the following generous sponsors and partners.  

Sponsored by: 




Co-Sponsored by:















With additional support from: