November 15, 2021

Cottrell Center Hosts Inaugural Social Innovation Competition

With $5,000 in prize money, WCU’s Social Innovation Competition has inspired entrepreneurs who hope to make positive social advances. The five finalists in this inaugural competition will pitch a panel of judges, Shark Tank style, on Tuesday, November 16, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the West Chester University Alumni and Foundation Center, 202 Carter Drive. This new competition is organized by WCU’s Dr. Edwin Cottrell Entrepreneurial Leadership Center. The in-person pitches are free to watch.

WCU Social Innovation Competition 2021The Social Innovation Competition encourages participants from diverse disciplines to develop an entrepreneurial idea that addresses and solves significant social or environmental problems. Ideas must be related to at least one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The competition is open to all West Chester University undergraduate students, graduate students, alumni, faculty, and staff.

On hand to further inspire will be Nick Bayer, CEO of Saxbys, and one of the Philadelphia Business Journal’s 100 Most Powerful Leaders in Philadelphia. He will keynote the event and discuss Saxbys’ recent designation as a Certified B Corporation. B Corps are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.

The competition moderator is Emily Yates, Smart City director for the City of Philadelphia. With her background in urban policy, in 2019 she founded and was principal of Urban Revolution Group, LLC, a sustainability and economic development firm that assists policymakers and practitioners in developing strategies and implementing projects and programs that create resilient and inclusive cities of the future.

The five finalists in WCU’s first Social Innovation Competition are:

  • The Caring App – Tom Elmer (WCU adjunct marketing faculty)
  • Music Service Learning – Marci Major (WCU assistant professor and chair of music education and music therapy), Lauren Ryals (WCU adjunct faculty), Spencer Camacho (WCU alumnus), and Adam Gumble (WCU assistant professor, music education, and director of athletic bands).
  • Roasting Composting – Kylie Trankle (WCU undergraduate)
  • Fischer General Store – Lorraine Fischer (WCU undergraduate)
  • All-In-One-Tactile Urbanism Platform – Alden Ritchey (WCU undergraduate)

Register to attend here.

The West Chester University Social Innovation Competition is sponsored by TD Bank, and is co-hosted by The WCU Cottrell Entrepreneurial Leadership Center, The WCU Office of Sustainability, The WCU Center for Civic Engagement & Social Impact, and PRME.

The Dr. Edwin Cottrell Entrepreneurial Leadership Center at West Chester University inspires students to engage in entrepreneurial ventures, facilitates regional economic development, and fosters entrepreneurship literacy across WCU, in Chester County, and in southeastern Pennsylvania.


Global Entrepreneurship Week

The Social Innovation Competition occurs during Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), an international initiative that acknowledges and promotes entrepreneurship in six continents each November. This week’s programs from the Cottrell Center include:

  • Entrepreneurial Leadership Mindset

    Wednesday, November 17, 6 to 7 p.m.
    WCU College of Business and Public Management Center
    Patrick Murray, founder, president, and CEO of STP Investment Services, his vision for a world-class, client-centric operations services and technology provider. STP has grown at a breakneck pace, crossing $330 billion in assets served and capturing industry recognition along the way, including by the Philadelphia Business Journal, and Inc. 5000 growth awards. Register here to attend. 


  • Lunch & Networking Celebration of Entrepreneurship In Chester County

    Thursday, November 18, 12 to 1:30 p.m.
    2 West Market Street, West Chester, PA 19382
    The Cottrell Center hosts Chester County entrepreneurs and like-minded professionals who share a common goal of growing their network to help improve others, their businesses, and careers. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. This event is open to Chester County start-ups, professionals, and students. Register here to attend.


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