The University of San Diego and the University of St. Thomas announced a collaborative effort Wednesday to increase social entrepreneurship at both universities, thanks to a $2.6 million donation by a former USD board chair and his wife.
Ron and Alexis Fowler’s donation will allow USD to expand its Global Social Innovation Challenge to the University of St. Thomas. The program, which launched in 2011, encourages students to use methods of entrepreneurship to find solutions to modern social, cultural and environmental issues.
The Global Social Innovation Challenge currently includes student-led entrepreneurship teams from 27 universities in a dozen countries on six continents. Teams in the GSIC have received more than $377,000 in seed funding for their start-ups.
“USD and St. Thomas have both demonstrated their ability to successfully nurture and lead innovative students,” Ron Fowler said. “Working together, sharing common ideals and practices, Alexis and I expect to see more ventures successfully transition to advanced stages of prototyping, financial sustainability and start-up.”
The Fowlers donated $2.5 million to the GSIC and $100,000 for the Fowler Business Concept Challenge, which is a competition within the University of St. Thomas’ Schulze School of Entrepreneurship with the same goal as the GSIC. St. Thomas celebrated the Fowler Business Concept Challenge’s 10th anniversary last November.
“We are eternally grateful for (Ron Fowler’s) support, which has inspired so many entrepreneurial ventures,” said Julie Sullivan, St. Thomas president. “His vision to bring together USD and St. Thomas to support global social innovation through an intercollegiate competition will expand our reach and generate invaluable impact for generations to come.”
—City News Service
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