Annual innovation competition winners named

$155,000 in awards distributed

Freshman Allen Osgood (in glasses), founder of STEMs For Youth, is congratulated by his teammates following the Youthbridge Social Enterprise and Innovation Competition awards presentation April 10. Osgood and his team won $25,000 for their program, which encourages underprivileged middle school students to pursue science and engineering through mentoring and use of Lego robotic applications. (Credit: Sid Hastings/WUSTL Photos)

The ninth annual YouthBridge Social Enterprise and Innovation Competition (SEIC) has named this year’s winners and its $155,000 in awards.

Winning teams represented both community and Washington University in St. Louis social entrepreneurs. Their social venture ideas ranged widely, covering youth, teens, education, science and more.

The awardees are:

  • Bridge Bread received a $30,000 Daughters of Charity Foundation of St. Louis award. Bridge Bread provides supportive employment opportunities for homeless and at-risk people to guide them on the path to self-sufficiency.
  • Girls in the Know received the $25,000 Lutheran Foundation of St Louis award. Girls in the Know inspires and empowers girls to make healthy and confident decisions through an educational four-week mother/caregiver and preteen daughter speaker series led by female professionals.
  • Playing for the Cause received a $25,000 YouthBridge award. Playing for the Cause leverages the unique relationship between musicians and their fans to increase funding for local nonprofit organizations.
  • STEMs for Youth received a $10,000 YouthBridge award and a $5,000 Brentmoor Foundation award. STEMs For Youth encourages underprivileged middle school students to pursue science and engineering through mentoring and the creative use of Lego robotics applications.
  • Made for Freedom received a $25,000 Brentmoor Foundation award. Made for Freedom aims to increase women’s quality of life through fashion-forward apparel.
  • Girls Dreaming Big received the $25,000 Skandalaris award. Girls Dreaming Big provides services, products and resources to help high school and college-age girls build self-esteem and confidence, create positive networks and achieve their dreams.
  • The student award of $5,000 went to STEMs for Youth, founded by WUSTL freshman Allen Osgood. All on the team are WUSTL students.
  • The Skandalaris Social Value award of $5,000 also went to STEMs for Youth, as the team received the highest total score in the social value measurement in the business plan and final presentations.

The YouthBridge SEIC began in 2005 as a partnership between WUSTL’s Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and the YouthBridge Community Foundation. Since its inception, the competition has awarded more than $1 million in cash and in-kind prizes to more than 40 social ventures, including an annual $5,000 student prize. More than 85 percent of ventures that have won awards still are operating.

The YouthBridge Community Foundation partners with donors to help charities, especially those focused on children, become financially sound through leadership, grants and donor services.

The Skandalaris Center is a cross-campus and communitywide initiative serving students in all schools and degree programs at the university and the St. Louis region. Sponsors of the Skandalaris Center include accounting firm RubinBrown; the St. Louis Regional Chamber; the Polsinelli law firm; accounting firm Lopata, Flegel & Co.; the Brentmoor Foundation; the Daughters of Charity Foundation of St. Louis; Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis; and the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission.