Innovation-challenge winners at UNH focus on health, education

Ph.D. student Kendra Bostick and UNH senior Haley Burns each took home a prize at the NH Social Venture Innovation Challenge on Thursday.

DURHAM — Winners of the NH Social Venture Innovation Challenge presented business models to help improve nutrition for Haitians, and to help educators in the United States as they implement experiential education.

The seventh annual competition took place at the University of New Hampshire on Thursday.

The competition yields community-track winners and student-track winners.

Haley Burns, who is a senior at UNH, won the community-track award with her business, V’ice Haiti.

Burns told the judges on Thursday morning that people in Haiti suffer from nutritional deficiencies, and that her shaved-ice cones and nutritional bars include iron, vitamin A, vitamin B and folate, vitamin C and vitamin E. One serving of the shaved ice has one-third of a person’s daily recommendations of those nutrients, she said.

Burns said that V’ice products are priced cheaply — 10 cents a cone and 5 cents a bar — so they have the most impact.

“This is a price that the poor can afford,” Burns said.

With manufacturing and sales already underway in Haiti, Burns said she wants to scale up so more people living there can make money through micro-franchising in the country with a high unemployment rate.

Burns won $5,000 during the challenge to help make that effort a reality.

Kendra Bostick, who is working on her Ph.D. in education, teamed up with Bryn Lottig, of Hazelhurst, Wis., for an innovative classroom solution, Kikori.

Bostick was a school social worker for five years and said teachers often came to her with issues regarding their students’ behavioral and emotional problems.

Kikori is a digital platform aligned with educational standards so teachers can go online and find activities that fit into their rigorous class schedules. Bostick said the tool will help create an even playing field for students of lower economic backgrounds.

“Within high-income schools, they often have these activities within programs as part of their learning curriculum across the board, but in low-income schools, they often use more traditional teaching methods which decrease creativity as well as critical thinking skills,” Bostick said in her video submission for the award.

Bostick also won $5,000 during the challenge.

Both Burns and Bostick had Ian Grant of the UNH Entrepreneurship Center as an adviser.

Lead sponsors of the competition include Impax Asset Management, Kennebunk Savings Bank, Nixon Peabody and Timberland.

Thursday, January 23, 2020
Wednesday, January 22, 2020