2024 President's Innovation Challenge

2024 President's Innovation Challenge

Harvard Innovation Labs (iLab)

  • The Harvard Innovation Labs (iLab) supports student, alumni, and life sciences ventures, fostering entrepreneurial leadership across Harvard University.
  • Since 2011, the iLab has worked with over 5,000 ventures from 145 countries, raising a collective $8 billion in capital.
  • This year, the iLab saw record student interest and engagement, with over 2,700 students participating.

President's Innovation Challenge (PIC)

  • The PIC encourages the Harvard community to transform ideas into solutions for societal challenges.
  • This year's PIC finalists represent 11 Harvard schools, with semi-finalists from all 13 schools.
  • The PIC awards ceremony features pitches from finalist ventures, with prizes totaling $25,000 and $75,000 in each of five tracks.

Ingenuity Awards

  • The Ingenuity Awards recognize early-stage student ventures, awarding a total of $177,000 to five winners.
  • The awards presented during the ceremony were designed and printed in the iLab's maker studio, taking over 20 hours to produce each one.

Student Social Impact Track

  • Nathan Maletti founded MySpeech, a nonprofit connecting people who stutter with speech therapists and community resources, using data-driven recommendations and building a supportive community.
  • Arya Mustari co-founded MySo Foundation to empower young girls in Bangladesh through entrepreneurship, financial literacy, leadership, and confidence-building, aiming to break the cycle of child marriage.
  • Manasi Mian co-founded Saturday Art Class, providing access to visual arts and social-emotional learning in the Indian education system, reaching over 178,000 children and aiming to impact 5 million by 2027.
  • Rea co-founded Solara, deploying portable solar irrigation pumps to help marginal farmers in India, increasing their income, reducing irrigation expenses, and eliminating carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Ivonne founded Trans Health HQ, addressing the lack of informed clinicians equipped to treat transgender patients by providing a centralized resource and rewarding clinicians for effective treatment and advocacy.
  • Alejandra co-founded Uma, empowering female artisans in Peru by helping them design and sell premium products in high-margin markets, doubling their income and reducing the risk of gender-based violence.
  • Saturday Art Class won the $225,000 award, and Solara won the $75,000 award in the student social impact track.

Alumni and Affiliates Open Track

  • Nikki Okra founded Shaku Foods, aiming to create wealth for smallholder farmers in Africa through technology and market access, maximizing profits and minimizing climate risk.
  • Crop Diagnostics uses AI and biomarkers to analyze plant health, enabling farmers to optimize inputs and maximize crop yield.
  • Home Team is an employee health benefit that supports family caregivers, providing assistance and reducing burnout.
  • Mesa Quantum develops chip-scale quantum sensors as an alternative to GPS for navigation and positioning, ensuring resilience against disruptions.
  • SkillTech offers a hyper-personalized upskilling platform using AI, helping corporations create tailored courses and develop employee skills for the future workforce.
  • Vadian uses voice AI to predict and manage fatigue risk in workers, preventing accidents and saving lives in industries prone to fatigue-related incidents.
  • Serge Box is a portable, sterile surgical environment for field hospitals and resource-limited settings, making complex surgeries accessible in challenging conditions.
  • Cell Forma develops a regenerative cell therapy for fatal lung diseases, using stem cells to create lung organoids and leveraging machine learning to optimize the therapy.
  • EndoShunt invented a device that helps surgeons quickly locate and stop internal bleeding, reducing mortality rates in emergency situations.
  • Sky Lamb co-founded mLab, developing a 5-in-1 test strip to detect the five deadliest lacing agents in drugs, helping combat the overdose crisis.
  • Andrew Thompson, from Modulate Bio, is creating novel therapies to treat neurological disorders with none of the side effects or toxicity of current treatments.
  • Claudia co-founded New Mind, building a digital brain clinic for long-term, effective, and engaging care for patients with neurological conditions, improving their independence and memory.
  • Michael, representing EndoShunt, developed a device that gives patients decades of healthy life back by treating hydrocephalus and won the $75,000 award.
  • Yena Oeni, founder of Halo Braid, shared her journey from winning the Ingenuity Award to building a device that braids hair five times faster than a stylist, helping stylists triple their income.
  • The 2024 Ingenuity Award winners were recognized for their high-potential ideas: Alba, a disposable disc indicating the start of menstruation for visually impaired women; Micro Avionics, developing propulsion technology to collect climate data from the upper atmosphere; Perio Sense, an automated periodontal probe for early and accurate gum disease diagnosis; Rear, a 3D printed furniture brand offering customizable, sustainable, and evolving furniture; and Spring, an innovative menstrual disc combining comfort, sustainability, and therapeutic benefits to alleviate menstrual pain.
  • Tara Palai, the director of alumni programs and engagement at the Harvard Innovation Labs, emphasized the importance of community and support in entrepreneurship.
  • Emily, the founder of Beaver Health, discussed the urgent caregiving crisis and introduced Beaver, an online platform providing stimulating activities for older adults to support their cognition and quality of life.
  • Rosalino, the founder and CEO of Alisa, highlighted the issue of ultra-processed foods in Latin America and presented Alisa, Latin America's first fresh and additive-free child nutrition company.
  • Mave, the CEO of I Amc, addressed the problem of ill-fitting shoes and introduced I Amc, a company that uses dynamic AI-molded shoes to provide a comfortable and affordable fit.
  • Dr. Vita Grant, a Harvard-trained lawyer and engineer, discussed the challenges faced by small businesses in Africa when making international payments and introduced her payment platform with a dynamic compliance system to facilitate fair and equitable global trade.
  • D. Amanov, the founder of Neuros spy Technologies, presented his company's development of fast and efficient AI chipsets to help enterprises build proprietary generative AI systems for their services and products.
  • Beaver Health won the $75,000 award for the alumni and Affiliates open track, and Emily expressed her gratitude for the support and recognition.

Harvard Innovation Labs Annual Demo Day

  • The Harvard Innovation Labs Annual Demo Day showcased five promising ventures: Bullseye Biosciences, Elios Therapeutics, Promo Therapeutics, Somite Therapeutics, and Strategyn Bio.
  • A total of $832,000 in prizes was awarded to these ventures.

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