University of Evansville Awarded Ball Venture Grant for Changemaker Incubator

Posted: Monday, June 6, 2016

The University of Evansville’s Institute for Global Enterprise has received a $20,000 Ball Venture Fund award to build a Changemaker Incubator on campus. The Ball Venture Fund, established by the Ball Brothers Foundation and administered the Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI), provides seed funding for innovative start-up programs at ICI member institutions. UE’s grant was one of four selected out of 36 submissions this year.

This is the second year in a row the University of Evansville has received a Ball Venture Fund grant. The award last year provided start-up funding to establish UE’s Neuromarketing Research Center, a consulting practice using tools and techniques on the forefront of marketing and neuroscience to provide customer insights to clients.

The Changemaker Incubator will accelerate the growth of social enterprise start-ups by providing space for social entrepreneurs to gather, exchange ideas, connect with mentors, collaborate with community partners, pitch ideas, and develop skills necessary to get their ideas off the ground. UE hosts annual Changemaker Challenges that empower young people to use innovation for positive change in the world.

The High School Changemaker Challenge awards high school students scholarships to study and further develop their innovative ideas at UE, and the Collegiate Changemaker Challenge provides seed funding for social initiatives. The Changemaker Incubator will create a space to support these young people as they create lasting and measurable impact for the common good. 

The Changemaker Incubator will be housed in UE’s newly-renovated Bower-Suhrheinrich Library. It will include furniture that inspires and encourages collaboration and will be equipped with technology to enable cooperation between UE students and students from all over the world. Currently, Changemaker students collaborate with people in Canada, Africa, the United Kingdom, Guatemala, and Germany.

For example, a team of students is designing a sustainable art therapy program for recovering addicts in a rehab center in rural Guatemala. Building off a successful alternative energy consulting group at UE, another team will launch an alternative energy initiative at Harlaxton College, UE’s study abroad location in the UK.

“Developing entrepreneurial ideas that make a difference in the world is something that resonates well with this generation of young people, and the impact they will make is profound. We are delighted about the possibilities this incubator space will provide for these Changemakers who are tackling important issues and offering fresh perspectives and innovative solutions,” says Jill Griffin, executive director for the Institute of Global Enterprise. The incubator is set to open before the end of the year.

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