Professor Taryn Fisher and MBA in Sustainability Student Attend the NH Social Venture Innovation Challenge Event

Brianna Larsen, Hazel Stark and Joe Horn

Keene, NH—Taryn Fisher, assistant professor and program director in Antioch University New England’s (AUNE) Department of Management, attended a panel discussion on Impact Investing and the final round of judging for the NH Social Venture Innovation Challenge at the University of New Hampshire on December 15. The New Hampshire Social Venture Innovation Challenge (SVIC) engages aspiring and practicing student and community social entrepreneurs across New Hampshire in designing novel, sustainable, business-orientated solutions to some of society’s most pressing social and environmental challenges. The SVIC is an idea-stage competition with the goal of inspiring innovative, solution-orientated thinking and providing a forum to shine a light on these ideas. Challenge winners receive awards that help bring needed resources to advance these promising models.

AUNE MBA in Sustainability student Joe Horn and his team, Brianna Larsen, Naturalist Educator at Foothill Horizons Outdoor School in Sonora CA, and Hazel Stark, AUNE MS in Resource Management and Conservation student, also attended the event, having made a pitch for their venture, the Maine Outdoor School. Although they did not win the competition, their effort was impressive, and they’re planning to compete again next year.

“The NH SVIC was a great experience. The event had an incredible assortment of for and nonprofit business ideas that ranged from chemistry to road maintenance to food service,” said Joe Horn. “Coming back from the event we feel a renewed sense of purpose, a deep understanding of our goal with Maine Outdoor School, and an eagerness to compete next year. In the meantime, our team is working diligently to continue refining our vision and our audio video skills so that we are more competitive next fall.”

Monadnock Community Solar Initiative, a group of Antioch students working to research, organize, and develop a community solar project to purchase solar panels for the roof of the Monadnock Food Co-op, made it to the final round in the competition. The Co-op also has strong connections to Antioch, including its start as a 2008 Environmental Studies master’s project that organized a planning committee for a food cooperative, and support by MBA students who created marketing plans for the cooperative.

Social entrepreneur, co-founder and former CEO of Citizen Schools, Eric Schwarz was the keynote speaker. Mr. Schwarz also received the Carsey School of Public Policy’s 2014 Social Innovator of the Year Award at the event.

Gearing up for next year’s competition, Taryn Fisher plans to share information on the Social Venture Innovation Challenge with incoming students at the beginning of the fall semester to give them time to develop ideas for their innovative ventures.

“We were delighted to have an AUNE team compete in the 2014 NH SVIC.,” said Professor Fisher. “We learned a lot, and we look forward to competing again in 2015.”

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