Carlson School Announces 2022 Sands Fellows
Thursday, December 16, 2021
From addressing challenges relating to criminal justice, recycling, local farming, music and language education, and equitable access to health care, 12 business ventures from Carlson School MBA students were selected as 2022 Sands Family Social Ventures Fellowships.
Each project now has the opportunity, thanks to an initial $5,000 award, to create a transformative experience that contributes to the local community.
“This year, we saw quite a range of business ideas and believe those selected show great promise," says John Stavig, program director at the Carlson School’s Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship. “Through these fellowships, these students will hone their entrepreneurship skills and take their initial steps to become visible leaders in the community.”
University of Minnesota graduates Bill and Susan Sands established the fellowship in hopes of inspiring future generations of Carlson MBA students to apply their business expertise to make a major impact on their community. Now in its 10th year, 59 Sands Fellows have either partnered with existing organizations or launched new ventures that address important societal issues in the Twin Cities.
These business ventures join one 2021 fellowship winner, who will return for another year. The information below comes directly from the student's applications.
2022 Sands Fellows
Proposed Social Venture: Españolx - Building Connections through Spanish Language
Language learning helps individuals understand one another and collaborate. A public that is engaged in connection across cultures will be more likely to advocate for culturally inclusive spaces in their local community. Españolx offers virtual lessons with quality instructors to increase accessibility to spoken language learning, especially for rural communities.
Proposed Social Venture: Supporting Black-Owned Businesses
The goal is to reduce racial inequity in Minnesota through empowering black business owners by providing them with access and connections to funding, legal, training, and other business resources. Seeking to partner with local investors, lenders, and programs designed to support underrepresented businesses.
Proposed Social Venture: Increasing Awareness and Challenges of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS can be the cause of serious health conditions, including infertility, diabetes, obesity, and mood disorders. It is endemic among women in the U.S., with the diagnosed population estimated to be up to 10 percent of women. This effort will seek to increase the awareness of PCOS among vulnerable populations, with a focus on increasing relevant, supporting resources to low-income individuals.
Proposed Social Venture: Criminal Justice Relief Fund
Development of a fund, aimed at not only reimbursing victims for their losses but supporting them to financial and vocational stability while reducing financial hardship for offenders. The objective is to not only assist in “making victims whole again” but to encourage their ambitions towards education and employment. An additional objective is to eliminate financial restitution burdens from low-income, non-violent offenders. The overall mission of this project is to create financial relief and alleviate the cycle of poverty that the current criminal justice system perpetuates.
Proposed Social Venture: Scalable Small Business Consulting
Creation of a consulting business that will have a positive impact with entrepreneurs, startups, and other social impact companies (non-profit or otherwise). Using a combination of pro-bono and for-profit models, the company would conduct a variety of scalable workshops focused on creating solid foundations for these companies to become successful.
Proposed Social Venture: Improving Health Outcome in Twin-City Underprivileged Communities
Homeless, illiterate, and underprivileged populations in the US have poor health indicators and have higher incidents of disease, illness, and trauma cases, which leads to higher health needs. A majority of them are poor, less educated, unable to afford private health insurance, but also they have eroded trust in the health system and are not aware of health benefits. By June 2022, I will launch a new venture or collaborative project with like-minded organizations working to improve the health outcome of underserved communities in the Twin Cities.
Bill McCue and Patrick Wenger
Proposed Social Venture: Educating Consumers on Local Recycling Policies
As the vast majority of industrial plastics are petroleum-derived and thus non-degradable, any plastic not properly recycled or incinerated for energy recovery will spend an indefinite amount of time in landfills. Our vision is to empower environmentally conscious individuals by giving them straightforward information with regard to proper recycling through an application (“app”) based technology. Our app will use a geo-locator that will contain information regarding recycling policies in different municipalities along with guidelines for safe disposal of a variety of different wastes.
AJ Nold and Rebecca Meyer
Proposed Social Venture: Shadow Spinner
The Twin Cities boasts a large diversity of talented, creative individuals. Artists often struggle to make a living wage off their art, which forces them to choose between giving up their art or accepting a lower standard of living. Our services will aid local artists in turning their talents into a livelihood. We will not merely subsidize the arts; we will help people make their art profitable for them.
Proposed Social Venture: Cooperative Marketing for Premium Garlic
Develop a business model that helps local farmers market their premium garlic with minimal effort on their part, so they can focus on what they do best: growing. This effort will leverage the Minnesota Premium Garlic Project to work with 38+ garlic growers in Minnesota and Wisconsin. By decreasing the amount of time individual farmers have to commit to marketing their product, this offers the potential to increase the hourly wage of garlic farmers in the upper Midwest.
Proposed Social Venture: Equitable Youth Music Education
Learning to play a musical instrument provides a positive influence on mental health, fosters self-confidence, teaches grit and work ethic, and creates a positive community and belonging among members of music groups. Equitable access to instruments, lessons, and performing groups is limited in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. This effort will partner with the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies (GTCYS) and Walker|West to provide access to musical instruments, affordable one-on-one and group lessons, and membership in performing ensembles.
Returning 2021 Sands Fellow
Proposed Social Venture: Responsible Destruction of Firearms
Continuing the work to responsibly destroying unwanted firearms, which pose a personal risk and public hazard. Company has been formed and gearing up for quiet launch of apolitical effort to reach out to firearms distributors and dealers and implement a process to destroy unwanted firearms while eliminating personal liability to the owner.