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2018 Competition & Awards

SIPA Challenge CVC Finalists


In September 2017, eleven semi-finalist teams were chosen in the fifth competition of the SIPA Dean’s Public Policy Challenge. Semifinalist teams participated in bootcamps including Prototyping, Financial Planning, Law and Startups and Effective Pitching. Teams were also provided support through funding and a team of Advisors. In January 2018, five finalist teams were selected to further refine and develop their projects. Winners of the fifth round of competition were announced in April 2018. 


Students: Shanna Crumley, Stephanie Doctor, Gemma Torras Vives

A4ED leverages mobile and block chain technology to ensure inclusive and secure learning for every refugee student using existing records software and standardized secondary completion exams. This centralized system makes it possible to store and transfer educational data and digital transcripts for students, educational institutions, employers and the UN. 

Students: Devansh Mehta, Audrey Misquith, Takanori Otsuka, John Shin, Mohamed Zeeshan

Learn2Earn is a communication tool that helps spread public awareness on crucial issues among millions of people outside the reach of the internet (presently about half the world’s population). Through the innovative use of technology, Learn2Earn allows content to go viral on the more widely available cellular network that is used for phone calls and SMS. Listeners are incentivized to understand infomercials on important public concerns such as spread of diseases by providing them with free mobile talktime if they successfully answer a quiz on the infomercial. To enable word-of-mouth growth of the network, listeners are provided with additional mobile talktime for every phone number they refer that also ends up passing the quiz. Our platform thus makes the dissemination of public information interactive, widespread and truly effective.


Mindr runs talks, workshops, classes and events led by global experts, where crying babies are welcome. Described as the 'TED talks of the parenting world' by Fox 5 and Time Out, Mindr is disrupting the experience of urban parenting by creating opportunities for professional, intellectual and personal growth in a baby-friendly environment. After developing a strong community and events base in New York and London, Mindr is now developing an app to take this concept global, connecting new parents in urban centers worldwide to like-minded groups and high quality content. 

Students: Rebecca Abramson, Sarah Lux-Lee

MONICA Energy: Thirty-five percent of U.S. carbon emissions come from electricity generation and use in the United States. MONICA Energy addresses this challenge of global climate change: our social enterprise is a virtual assistant platform with an integrated phone application and website that simplifies the household clean electricity switch. Using voice activation and geolocation, customers on our platform can easily auto-switch to a new renewable electricity company. We also use behavioral science insights to offer customers preferred renewable energy service provider options available in their location, helping to frame their decision and give them a successful nudge to switch to a renewable electricity company. We aim to disrupt the dirty energy industry by bringing energy consumers a personalized experience, driving large-scale emissions reductions and clean energy growth. By the end of year three of operations, we will be avoiding over 400,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually, which is equivalent to over 11 million trees grown for ten years.

Students: Marisol Leos, Jeffrey Lepley, Faria Sami, Stephanie Ullrich

WeCare is aimed at creating individual philanthropy to solve some of the largest public policy issues in emerging and developed markets. Our initial geographic focus is Japan, given its unique culture where wedding guests pay some money to attend and receive a souvenir/gift in return. Our idea is to create a platform that will channel that money spent on the return gift to a pool of funds/organizations working on issues threatening the social fabric of Japan. Based on our success in Japan, we plan to expand the business to other life events like birthdays and funerals, and other countries that have elaborate celebrations for their life events and are simultaneously burdened by development challenges. Ultimately, the goal of this business is to create a stronger third sector and create a new way to showcase people's value to the society. 

Students: Noopur Desai, Hisato Tamiya, Yuko Teramae


Farmerce is a digital knowledge-sharing platform that leverages data-driven insights to aggregate stakeholders of the agricultural value chain in India. With lower yields, lack of access to high quality inputs and information asymmetries, farmers in India are limited in their agricultural productivity.  Farmerce is initiating the process of transforming agriculture into a sustainable and organized sector of employment using a human-centered design mobile platform. Our mission is to build the capacity of farmers to increase efficiency, reach new markets and ultimately increase their incomes and community livelihoods. 

Students: Nadia Asgaraly, Robert Lehmann, Yuvraj Singh, Sophia Sunderji

FutureFit: FutureFit: 25% of all CO2 emissions worldwide comes from buildings. To address this, FutureFit provides an all-in-one marketplace platform for building retrofits and energy efficiency upgrades. Using property information and energy consumption data input by users, FutureFit develops customized solutions that detail emissions reduction and cost savings tactics, government incentives, vendor options, and comprehensive financing packages. FutureFit connects property owners with easy, trusted, and customized energy solutions to reduce their building’s carbon footprint and save money.

Students: Nathaniel Hoffman, Elizabeth Font, William XU

KLISI is an online marketplace system that connects electricity technicians with commercial and industrial, as well as residential, customers in Indonesia who require their services. We create value by providing a fast and expedient service at competitive price while helping the Indonesian power market in getting more qualified talents. Our value propositions for our stakeholders include a platform for commercial & industrial, as well as household, customers in procuring qualified electrician on a real-time basis; vast supply of field technicians and electricity operators with various skill sets; online training and certification for prospective electricians, in which the course materials are developed and provided by industry experts; and a channel for certified electricians to find a job that meets their unique talents.

Students: Sheldon Cheng, Tasya Kamila, Akhmad Sani

Tibetucation is an online platform that provides Tibetan students aged 3-18 with courses of different disciplines and at all levels in Tibetan. Besides, it also includes language courses, like Mandarin, and other practical courses, such as career development, farming and herding techniques. With the use of Tibetucation, Tibetan kids will have more access to education and thus their academic performance will be improved.

Students: Qiansong Xu

Unbias is a data-driven, mobile friendly platform that provides fact-checking services targeted at curious citizens, journalists and civic activists. To begin, will be used to verify campaign promises for current Members of Parliament in India and later expand to uncovering data-related inconsistencies across mainstream news media in multiple languages. Through this we hope to introduce accountability and transparency in India's political processes and discourse, and act as a tool to counter the proliferation of fake news. 

Students: Mahua Bisht, Debashree Poddar, Atishay Sehgal, Gayathri Vijayaraghavan

WeServe.io is a crowdfunding platform that empowers activists and social entrepreneurs by channeling the power of their social networks to create sustainable impact. By breaking down big funding goals into small tasks and opening projects to public collaboration, WeServe.io turns social networks into grassroots task forces that are operational across borders. The platform can be used to kickstart a social enterprise, organize an emergency response operation, or even convert mere buzz into constructive action. 

Students: Eric Courier de Méré, Liad Eshkar, Virginia Garcia, Fatima Lucia Uriarte Cacere