Social Innovation Lab mentors 10 start-ups

By ADARSHA MALLA
Staff Writer

The Hopkins Social Innovation Lab (SIL) has selected 10 up-and-coming business and technology ventures that will receive mentoring, funding and resources through the incubator during the 2015-2016 cohort. The SIL works under the Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures and is an early stage incubator. It focuses on guiding and fueling companies looking to develop new solutions to community and global problems. The SIL initiated its first cohort in 2011 and since then has worked with more than 20 organizations spanning a variety of fields. This was the first year in which the early stage incubator accepted applications from ventures with Hopkins affiliations. The SIL Advisory Board independently reviewed 61 applications, scored proposals and chose the final cohort from the group.

Among the ventures selected for this year’s cohort is a team of Hopkins students who want to bring a sustainable and cost-efficient fuel solution to Tanzania while also providing other platforms and opportunities for the communities to grow and develop. One team is focused on improving health in Baltimore communities while another is looking to revolutionize the orthopedics community by recreating how orthotic devices are made.

The members of the new cohort will work with the SIL until April 2016. The groups selected are as follows:

Wiya
This is a loyalty and rewards app that encourages users to support local businesses.
Team members: Justin Kwong, Hopkins alumnus; Adam Eckstein, senior International Studies major.

Fusiform
This app is working to recreate how orthotic devices are made in order to revolutionize the orthopedics industry and positively impact the community.
Team members: Param Shah, sophomore neuroscience major; Alex Matthews, senior biomedical engineering major; Thomas Keady, sophomore electrical engineering major; Andrew Colombo, sophomore mechanical engineering major; Jenny Park, senior economics major; Thomas Brazelton, sophomore mathematics major; assistant research engineer Yunus Sevimli.

Baltimore Teacher Supply Swap
This group collects donations of educational materials that are no longer being used and distributes them to teachers, schools and educational programs who need them.
Team member: Melissa Badeker.

Hero Lab
This aims to use an original curriculum in resilience training and the science of human flourishing (positive psychology) to nurture gritty community change-makers amongst at-risk youth in low-income public schools and neighborhoods in Baltimore.
Team members: Siddhi Sundar, pre-med graduate student; Adil Qureshi, graduate business student.

Greater Baltimore Health Improvement Initiative
This aims to develop and implement culturally adapted, health-outcome-focused educational and social engagement programs for targeted areas in the greater Baltimore region.
Team members: Brian Sims; Sharone Brinkley-Parker; Dr. Ashanti Woods; Stephanie Maddin; Angela Wells-Sims; Tammitha McIntyre; Edward Walters.

Bright Energy Africa
This group plans to bring sustainable and cost-efficient fuel solutions to Tanzania while providing local citizens with employment, training and entrepreneurial opportunities.
Team members: Miguel Dias, junior biomedical engineering major; Yu (Samantha) Wang, junior electrical engineering major; Yadel Okorie, junior mechanical engineering major; graduate mechanical engineering student Ryan Johnston.

Baltimore Tax Credit Project
This group plans to preserve home ownership and introduce millions of dollars into the Baltimore economy by taking a data-driven approach to increasing the adoption of the Maryland Homeowner’s Tax Credit Program.
Team members: Ryan J. Smith, graduate student at the School of Medicine.

Baltimore Healthy Teaching Kitchen
This group aims to engage the community in lifelong healthy eating habits through firsthand cooking lessons on preparing nutritious, accessible and practical meals.
Team members: Helen Knight, graduate student at the School of Medicine; Shannon Wongvibulsin, M.D./Ph.D. student; Paul Akre, Hopkins research fellow.

SOAR
This is an online platform that digitally empowers students in Baltimore to showcase and fund their academic needs, interests and passions.
Team members: Bobby Moore, School of Education alumnus; Laurel Nilon and Derek Durivage, community members.

#popscope
This will provide free public astronomy nights for Baltimore’s many neighborhoods to promote community building through science outreach in public spaces.
Team members: Audrey Buckland, School of Public Health alumna; Rachel Fabi, graduate student at the Bioethics Institute; Isaac Lief, staff member of the School of Public Health; Viva Dadwal, visiting scholar to the department of civil engineering; Julien Xuereb, Peabody alumnus; Ariel Hicks, Seth Franz and Joseph Long, community members.

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