Past Finalists

What were some of the topics among last year’s finalists?

  • Fostering East African women’s economic empowerment and high-impact entrepreneurship through blended finance, triggering systemic change that will transform the lives of millions.
  • Funding decentralized micro-insurance for healthcare in emerging markets. Using blockchain and AI, we seek to insure low income individuals in rural India.
  • Modernizing recycling infrastructure in the U.S. state of North Carolina through the issuance of municipal green bonds to support the construction of recycling facilities.
  • Blending corporate social responsibility-related philanthropy with bond capital, providing low-rate long-growth loans to start-ups to scale climate technology.
  • Funding an affordable urban farming solution in Cyprus designed to resource innovative agriculture and sustainability solutions by utilizing a lego design concept.
  • Financing the acquisition of privately held businesses along the southern Gulf coast in the U.S. to transition them into employee-owned cooperatives.
  • Protecting the Amazon Forest through a partnership with local communities to reinvigorate traditional regenerative practices (e.g., agroforestry, beekeeping) and help finance it through carbon credits.
  • Integrating a blended finance approach to jumpstart a sustainable micro-loan program, promoting financial equity and global partnerships for the SDGs in Mexico and the U.S.

Learn about Health Heroes, one of last year’s amazing finalist teams!

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Ackerman Center for Excellence in Sustainability

The Ackerman Center for Excellence in Sustainability drives responsible thought leadership and inspired action to accelerate progress in social and environmental sustainability through innovative and profitable business solutions.

We accomplish this by engaging with and connecting stakeholders to empower students, faculty and businesses to create impactful solutions, strengthen resiliency and identify breakthrough opportunities.


⯈ UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

UNC Kenan-Flagler is a leading global professional school of business. Our research influences business leaders, academics and policymakers. Our graduates are known for their effective and principled leadership as well as their technical and managerial skills. We are a workplace of choice for faculty, staff and students; a valued member of the UNC-Chapel Hill community; and a contributor to the welfare of North Carolina and the world beyond.


⯈ Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise

The Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise develops and promotes innovative, market-based solutions to vital economic issues. With the belief that private enterprise is the cornerstone of a prosperous and free society, the institute fosters the entrepreneurial spirit to stimulate economic prosperity and improve the lives of people in North Carolina, across the country and around the world.