The Star Pitchers (photo by Jenifer Morgan) Twelve new social enterprise ventures ran onto the social innovation field at the 2011 Social Enterprise Conference last weekend, vying for top prize in the Harvard Pitch for Change competition. In the minutes leading up to Clinton Global Initiative’s CEO Robert Harrison’s keynote, five finalists had 60 seconds to pitch their project proposal to the audience in the hopes of winning. First place award: $6,000 and 3 consulting hours (provided by Root Cause).

In the running were:
1. A mobile application that can detect malaria at a 94% accuracy rate and automate data collection from LifeLens.
2. A service that recruits volunteers and matches them to NGOs in the developing world from Kushiri.
3. A waste-management system, developed for urban slums, that converts waste into electricity, fertilizer, and reclaimed water from San + Co.
4. A water collection device that enables people to easily transport large quantities of safe drinking water from Wello.
5. A service that examines data from successful, scalable field experiments, and shares it with nonprofit, government, and foundation organizations from ID Insight.

The winning organization was Wello. Columbia University’s Karina Nagin, who pitched the organization, responded to the experience, saying, “The Pitch for Change competition was an amazing experience. The positive feedback we received on our ‘Business in a Barrel’ model was very encouraging and we are returning to Rajasthan this summer to launch the pilot. I think the beauty of Wello is that it shows how a simple design can change the world, and the audience connected with that. The prize money will go towards helping us implement our pilot program this summer.”

ID Insight and LifeLens came in third and second, respectively, and won smaller prizes, and San + Co won an audience choice award. The 2011 Social Enterprise Conference was presented by students of the Harvard Business School and the Harvard Kennedy School.

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