Niagara University is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to issues of poverty. Niagara U students challenged to solve poverty
The school is putting up a $10,000 prize for the group of students that comes up with the winning plan for an entrepreneurial venture aimed at addressing hunger and other issues in Niagara Falls. The new initiative was announced on the feast of Vincent.
The offer is part of a new program branded as EntrepreNU2015.
The Rev. James Maher, president of the university, told students and faculty on Friday that the competition is directly in line with the teachings of the school’s patron St. Vincent de Paul, who was himself an entrepreneur, using the profits from his socially conscious businesses to fund efforts to fight poverty.
“It’s a wonderful, wonderful opportunity for us, as a Vincentian university, to join efforts with other universities and other entities in this region to make a difference,” Maher said during a kickoff event at the Lewiston campus.
Students will form teams of two to five people and submit videos and paperwork, pitching their ideas in late November. Those submissions will be narrowed to a short list and a winner will be chosen in the spring. Three finalists will win $500 prizes.
The students will have the support of faculty from a variety of disciplines including hospitality and tourism, business and social work. Participants are being encouraged to work with students from other majors to encourage creative brainstorming by bringing together people from different backgrounds.
The winning team will use their $10,000 prize to put their project into action and school staff will help the students connect with investors that might be interested in funding the project further if necessary.
The school is joining with community partners that deal directly with issues of poverty and hunger as part of the new initiative.