This past Saturday, June 17th, the University of St. Thomas hosted this year’s finals of the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge (FGSIC), a prestigious event that brings together aspiring social innovators and entrepreneurs from around the world. Aakriti Adhikari, a MA in Peace and Justice Graduate Student at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, had the incredible opportunity to pitch her social venture, Embrace the Red, in this year's event, an opportunity she earned as this year's Finals winner of the USD Innovation Challenge. In addition to a spot in this year's finals and $1,000 in seed funding, Aakriti won the Instagram challenge and was a runner-up in the small room pitching event, earning her a total of $1,000 ($500 each) in this year's Fowler GSIC.
Aakriti with the founder of the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge, Ron Fowler
For Aakriti, the FSGIC proved to be a beautiful and transformative experience. As she stood before a dignified panel of judges, she had the privilege of presenting her innovative idea alongside other exceptional individuals who shared her vision of changing the world. This collaborative environment allowed Aakriti to interact and network with these inspiring innovators, as well as esteemed judges. The opportunity to exchange ideas and perspectives left a lasting impression on her, forever expanding her network and connections.
One of the highlights of Aakriti's journey at Fowler GSIC was the invaluable network she built throughout the event. The feedback, appreciation, and recognition she received from her peers and mentors affirmed that she was on the right track with her work. This validation provided a profound motivation for Aakriti to continue her efforts in pursuing her vision. The support she received from this network of like-minded individuals served as a constant reminder that her work was making a tangible impact and fueled her determination to drive change.
Reflecting on her journey, Aakriti acknowledged the remarkable personal and professional growth she experienced since her initial participation in the Fowler business concept challenge in December. The meticulous detailing of her project, extensive research, and honed presenting skills exemplified her progress. As the founder of Embrace the Red, her project gained depth and sophistication, a testament to her commitment and dedication.
Aakriti expresses her immense gratitude for the unwavering support she received from key individuals. Dr. Andrew Biros played a pivotal role by providing consistent support throughout her journey. Helder Sebastio, PhD, offered instrumental guidance during the project's initial formulation. Prof. Juan F. Roche contributed invaluable help and feedback, shaping Aakriti's ideas and ensuring their refinement. Aakriti also felt incredibly fortunate to represent the University of San Diego, the Kroc School, and her home country, recognizing the collective mission of all participants to solve humanity's pressing challenges.
Aakriti and Dr. Andrew Biros, founder of Spark @USD
Aakriti Adhikari's experience at the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge was a transformative journey filled with growth, inspiration, and validation. The platform provided her with opportunities to interact with distinguished judges, network with fellow innovators, and gain global recognition. The encouragement and support she received from her network fueled her motivation to continue her work, and she emerged from the challenge with enhanced skills and refined project details. Aakriti's experience at the Fowler GSIC serves as a testament to the power of social innovation and collaboration in shaping a better future for all.
Find out more about the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge by visiting their site.