Nuestra Agua Safe Water Social Franchise

Diarrheal disease from drinking unsafe water is one of the leading causes of death in Mexico. Today, millions of Mexicans in low-income communities are still at high risk of waterborne diseases because of inadequate water infrastructure and insufficient water quality control. In particular, safe water remains unavailable to those who cannot afford commercially sold bottled water. Water technology like the UV Tube, developed through collaboration between UC Berkeley and Fundacion Cantaro Azul, is an effective means to secure water quality at home. Nuestra Agua, a new social franchise designed by UC Berkeley students, will expand on the UV Tube project and offer a local, affordable, and reliable option for people who need to purchase safe water as well as an economic opportunity for local entrepreneurs.
(Note: This project originally won in the Big Ideas “Social Entrepreneurship” category.)

Shreddr: Data from Paper to the Cloud

Development organizations around the world are increasingly reliant on accurate and timely data for decision-making at all levels. Unfortunately, the infrastructure and capacity for data entry and management have not kept pace, especially for low-resource organizations in the field. Even though millions of dollars of aid money each year is spent on data collection, entry and cleaning, most data efforts suffer from delays, inefficiency and difficulties in maintaining quality. Shreddr provides organizations an affordable and effective data digitization service that ensures accurate paper data entry with minimal additional investment in technology, training, or staffing through a series of simple “microtasks.”
(Note: This project originally won in the Big Ideas “Social Entrepreneurship Category” category.)

Tekla Labs

Tekla_LNilssonAccess to standard lab equipment is a serious limitation to scientific education, research and capacity building in many parts of the world. To combat this problem, Tekla Labs aims to empower scientists and engineers to construct their own quality lab equipment from locally available supplies using detailed and reliable protocols. While many real-world examples of doit-yourself (DIY) equipment already exist, quality assurance and comprehensive instructions on how to build education and research grade lab equipment are lacking. To address this, Tekla Labs is creating an interactive online library of tested “How-To” blueprints. All equipment instructions will be freely available under an unrestricted creative commons license to allow users throughout the world to use and add to Tekla Labs. The interactive online forum will allow researchers to ask questions and make requests, share their own improvements and alternative solutions, and connect to other labs worldwide.
(Note: This project originally won in the Big Ideas “Social Entrepreneurship” category.)

Class Projects to Social Ventures

There are countless student projects completed each year in academic classes that never get used in the real world because students do not know how to move them to the next level. Similarly, there are real causes that desperately need creative solutions. They can provide a forum for learning in class projects. “Class Projects to Social Ventures” will facilitate collaboration with social ventures to lead to a win-win situation: students will be more motivated because they will know their work can be utilized in a real world context, and the organization will benefit from a project overseen by experts: professors who are specialists in the field. “Class projects to Social Ventures” will provide the missing matchmaker that can 2 connect these parties. Through it, collaborations would be facilitated and students would have more opportunities to apply the knowledge they learn in classes in engaging “real world” projects. (Note: This project originally won in the Big Ideas “Social Entrepreneurship Category” category.)