Last Thursday (February 4) was a day of firsts at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. It was the first time the school hosted a social enterprise competition. It was also the first time Phoenix-based philanthropic foundation, the Pakis Family Foundation, judged and awarded a university-hosted business competition. And by all accounts, it went off without a hitch. Except for one curveball.
“The good kind of curveball,” assures Sidnee Peck, the director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the Carey School. In addition to the winning student team, which took home $20,000 for their new venture, the Pakis Family Foundation dished out an additional and unexpected $10,000 for both runner-up teams–doubling the agreed upon award amount.
“That was the easiest part of the evening,” says Fred Pakis, chairman of the Pakis Family Foundation and event judge. “To me, it would have been the wrong message to send by letting the two runner-ups to go home with nothing.”
ORGANIZATION SERVING DOMESTIC SEX SLAVERY VICTIMS TAKES TOP PRIZE
More than 80 teams from across departments on Arizona State’s massive campus applied to the inaugural Pakis Social Entrepreneurship Challenge and were whittled to three teams of finalists. Part of the Carey School’s Spark Tank event, each team presented for eight minutes and then were subjected to “grilling” for eight minutes from the panel of four judges. The winning team, All Walks, an organization dedicated to serving victims of domestic sex trafficking received the $20,000 and a year-long placement in SEED SPOT, a Phoenix-based social impact incubator.
They beat out two teams comprised of both undergraduate and graduate students–Humanity X and 33 Buckets. Humanity X uses social media tools and algorithms to track social media statements indicating suicidal thoughts or actions and automatically connects that person with a counselor. 33 Buckets builds water filters for poor communities around the globe to clean and sell water.
A YOUNG ENTREPRENEURIAL PASSION
“I’ve always wanted to do entrepreneurship,” says Jasmine Anglen, a co-founder for All Walks and senior finance major at the Carey School. Anglen learned about entrepreneurship when she was nine and her father told her about what a CEO does. As an 11-year-old, Anglen wasn’t shy to tell people she planned on being a CEO for a multi-billion dollar company when she grew up. “‘But you’re only 11,’ they’d say,” recalls Anglen.
Still, being a finance major and a very driven person, Anglen decided the route to that goal would be a sting as a Wall Street investment banker. “That’s the peak of finance and I wanted to be a part of it,” says the 23-year-old who’ll finish her business degree this spring. But then as a sophomore, she took a Wall Street trip with Arizona State’s investment banking club. “It wasn’t for me. I was having a crisis,” Anglen remembers. “I wasn’t very motivated by money.”
But Anglen still wanted to lead and have an impact. She had also recently listened to a speech given by a victim of sex trafficking in Phoenix. “It kept me up at night,” says Anglen. That’s when she learned of the work two freshman were doing. The two freshman were best friends from high school, Erin Schulte and Jessica Hocken.