Skandalaris Center to present inaugural Suren G. Dutia and Jas K. Grewal Global Impact Award

​Award aims to foster innovation and spur economic growth through entrepreneurship

​The first recipient of a new award for entrepreneurial impact will be selected from a field of six outstanding finalists at a reception to be held Monday, Oct. 6, at Washington University in St. Louis.

Presented by the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, the Suren G. Dutia and Jas K. Grewal Global Impact Award was established last year with a $1,025,000 gift from Dutia (BS ’63, AB, MS ’67) and Grewal, husband and wife entrepreneurs and investors, in the belief that the power of technology can solve real world problems by giving highly motivated entrepreneurs the tools to foster innovation. The award competition, which is open to Washington University students, postdocs, and alumni who graduated within the last five years, is intended for entrepreneurs who are using technology to develop products and services to spur economic growth.

Finalists were selected in March, and since then have been connected to mentors throughout the country who have advised them on their ventures. On Oct. 6, their months of hard work will culminate in final presentations to a distinguished group of judges:

  • Joni Cobb (JD ’91), founder and president, Pipeline
  • Mary Jo Gorman (MBA ’96), founder, Advanced ICU Care
  • Ronald Kruszewski, chairman and CEO, Stifel Nicolaus
  • Gary Rayner, founder and CEO, LifeProof

The winner of the $25,000 cash prize will be announced at the award ceremony at the Charles F. Knight Executive Education Center at Washington University. The event will feature a poster board session at 4 p.m., with elevator pitches from the finalists at 5 p.m., followed by the announcement of the winner.

“When we created the Global Impact Award, we sought to encourage successful entrepreneurs and help them grow and scale their ventures,” Dutia said. “We hope our finalists will all succeed as a result of their participation this year, which gave them access to education, mentors and capital. This award recognizes entrepreneurs who can have a significant impact through their venture and we hope they will give back to support future teams.”

Finalists for the 2014 Global Impact Award are:

  • Janji – With designs inspired by a country and proceeds helping that country with clean water or nutrition, Janji is the first running apparel brand built around giving back.
  • Nanopore Diagnostics LLC – Developing a rapid and portable bacterial diagnostic test to take the guess work out of prescribing antibiotics.
  • UStrive Inc. – An innovative college admissions technology that serves as both a matching tool and social network for students and mentors throughout the entire admissions process.
  • ViFlex – Developing a pair of low-cost, adjustable eyeglasses as part of a sustainable and scalable solution to reduce the burden of poor vision for the 700 million in the developing world who have untreated refractive error.
  • Visiolog – Has developed an efficient screening tool for underdiagnosed early-childhood vision disorders.
  • ZnDermal – A transdermal zinc delivery system that has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of diarrhea diseases in developing countries, saving and improving the quality of millions of lives.

“We are profoundly grateful to Suren and Jas not only for their generosity, but also for their vision and commitment to our entrepreneurial community,” said Emre Toker, managing director of the Skandalaris Center. “Their gift provides valuable resources to promising entrepreneurs and will serve to facilitate the connections necessary to create and sustain pathways to innovation for years to come.”

Dutia, currently a senior fellow with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, invests in a number of startup ventures and is on the board of several firms.

Most recently, he served as chief executive officer of TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) Global. With 57 chapters in 14 countries, Silicon Valley-based TiE is one of the largest nonprofit organizations involved in fostering entrepreneurship globally.

Earlier in his career, Dutia was president and CEO of Xscribe Corp. and held a number of leadership positions with Dynatech Corp.

Dutia holds three degrees from Washington University: bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering and a bachelor’s degree in political science, from Arts & Sciences. He also earned a master’s in business administration from the University of Dallas.

From 2011-12, Dutia was the Wells Fargo Advisors Visiting Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at Washington University.

He continues to serve the Skandalaris Center as a member of the university’s Entrepreneurship National Council. In addition, he chairs the San Diego Regional Cabinet and Grewal serves as a member.

Grewal had a 25-year banking career with positions of increasing responsibility with First Interstate Bank of California and its successor entity, Wells Fargo Bank, in the San Francisco Bay Area and San Diego. In 1992, she was one of 12 individuals in California selected to receive the prestigious national Community Reinvestment Award for her design and implementation of a houseboat loan program in Marin County.

During the past 30 years, Grewal has volunteered her time for numerous projects, including serving on the board of Bread & Roses, a California-based nonprofit organization; as a trustee for the San Diego Sikh Foundation; and as a trustee of the La Jolla Town Council from 2000-2004.

She was a founding member of the TiE South Coast Chapter and served on the executive committee, as program chair or as charter member event chair for nearly two decades, during which time she championed the organization’s Young Entrepreneurs Program. Additionally, she has served as president of the La Jolla chapter of Soroptimist International, a worldwide organization for professional women working to advance human rights and the status of women.