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The winners of the eighth annual YouthBridge Social Enterprise and Innovation Competition (SEIC) and its $164,000 in awards have been announced.

Mary Butkus

Sister Joan Kuester (left), executive director of the Daughters of Charity Foundation, and Jill McGuire (right), executive director of the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis, talk with Jessica Hentoff of the Circus Harmony Flying Trapeze Center. Hentoff won $30,000 from each organization.

Winning teams represented community and Washington University in St. Louis social entrepreneurs. Their social venture ideas ranged widely, covering youth, teens, homelessness and collaboration among all types of social enterprises.

“This year’s social entrepreneurs came up with lots of ideas and concepts that were new and fresh for St. Louis,” said Ken Harrington, director of the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at WUSTL.

“All the finalists will have high impact on our community as they move forward,” he said. “We are particularly excited about how past and current competitors are collaborating to build a community culture supporting social entrepreneurship. These are exciting times in St. Louis.”

Harrington announced the following awards April 10, selected from a pool of seven finalists:

  • The YouthBridge Community Foundation award of $35,000 to Independent Youth , a nonprofit organization that educates teens on entrepreneurship by offering unique programs and resources.
  • Daughters of Charity Foundation of St. Louis award of $30,000 and the Regional Arts Commission award of $30,000 to Circus Harmony Flying Trapeze Center , where men, women and children will be able to increase confidence and life skills using circus performance experiences.
  • The Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis award of $25,000 to ArchCity Defenders Inc. , a nonprofit legal organization that works with numerous social services groups to provide comprehensive criminal and civic legal services for homeless and other disadvantaged people.
  • The Skandalaris Award of $25,000 to GoodMap , an easy-to-use website where social agencies can collaborate to achieve greater impact including helping people find, organize and share information about community resources.
  • In addition, awards were given for the best score for measuring social value and best venture supported by students.

Law firm and Skandalaris sponsor Polsinelli Shughart will provide up to three $3,000 prizes of in-kind legal services to teams in this year’s competition.

The YouthBridge SEIC started in 2005 as a partnership between the Skandalaris Center and the YouthBridge Community Foundation. Since its inception, the competition has awarded more than $1 million in cash and in-kind prizes to 36 social ventures, including an annual $5,000 student prize. More than 85 percent of ventures that have won awards still are operating.

The YouthBridge Community Foundation partners with donors to help charities, especially those focused on children, become financially sound through leadership, grants and donor services.

The Skandalaris Center is a cross-campus and communitywide initiative serving students in all schools and degree programs at the university and the St. Louis region. Sponsors of the Skandalaris Center include RubinBrown, the Regional Chamber, Polsinelli Shughart and Lopata, Flegel Company.

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