Four grand prize winners underscore the potential of emerging technologies to influence student success positively.

Smart Sparrow teammates
Smart Sparrow teammates

The NYU Social Entrepreneurship Program is pleased to announce the awarding of a total of more than $1 million in Grand Prizes to four organizations for their plans for using leading-edge technology to help low-income, first generation, and minority students attend and complete college.

The just-selected winners of the “Algorithm for Change” national competition were culled from more than 70 submissions, resulting in 32 invitations to submit full proposals. Nine finalist teams were selected, and these teams pitched their respective entrepreneurial ideas, prototypes and companies before a panel of distinguished judges and an audience of more than 100 people at New York University’s Grand Hall on July 12

The winning teams are: Smart Sparrow, the recipient of a $500,000 award; Edquity ($300,000); TalkingPoints ($200,000); and BestFit, Inc. ($100,000). The competition awarded not only cash prizes, but coaching and mentorship.

 “The “Algorithm for Change” competition, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, elicited a highly impressive set of socially minded entrepreneurial efforts leveraging the emerging technologies AI/ML and xR,” said Gabriel Brodbar, Executive Director of the NYU Social Entrepreneurship Program. (A separate xR track with $500,000 in prizes was contracted by the NYU Social Entrepreneurship program to TechStars, the winners of which will be chosen July 24-26.)

 “The winning efforts demonstrated paths to improving access to higher education among low income, first generation, and minority students. They also demonstrated that the new technologies have tremendous potential for positively influencing student success. Congratulations to the winners, and to all who participated,” he said.

About the NYU Social Entrepreneurship Program: The NYU Social Entrepreneurship Program convenes and catalyzes the global change making community, equipping social entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs with the multi-disciplinary skills, experiences and networks needed to realize massive and sustainable social change. Established in 2006 and the first cross-university program of its kind, the program has helped define the field, and has produced thousands of change agents, impacting the lives of millions.