ASU Hosts Social Enterprise Competition

Swaroon Sridhar presents the pitch for his group 33 Buckets, which builds modular filters in poor communities so the local people can sell the clean water. 33 Buckets earned $10,000 in seed money as runners up. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Swaroon Sridhar presents the pitch for his group 33 Buckets, which builds modular filters in poor communities so the local people can sell the clean water. 33 Buckets earned $10,000 in seed money as runners up. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

EARLY SUCCESSES HAVE LED TO MATURE VENTURE

Schulte, a global studies major, had been researching local human trafficking and sex slavery since she was a teenager. Hocken, an accounting major at the Carey School, saw an opportunity to do some good with her numberical skills. “I never dreamed of being an entrepreneur,” concedes Hocken, 21.

Still, the trio had an idea and applied to Arizona State’s Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative, an on-campus incubation program. The team, comprised of two freshman, a sophomore, all of which happened to be women, were the youngest female-founded team to gain a space in the Edson Initiative.

Now, more than two years later, the team has grown programs and scaled across the state. All Walks, which is waiting for official 501(c)3 nonprofit status, has created a financial literacy curriculum that college-aged volunteers take to shelters for victims of sex trafficking. The volunteers train shelter staff to teach the girls in the shelter skills to be financially adept.

“We’re trying to reduce the relapse rate,” says Anglen, noting the average age of girls they are serving is about 14. “They come from foster care and homes of abuse and have run away and this helps the shelters administer specialized care.”

‘AS A FINANCE MAJOR, IT WAS IMPORTANT TO ME TO MAKE A REALLY GOOD BUSINESS MODEL’

All Walks has designed the curriculum to make it easier for the shelters to qualify for grant funding. The team also helps in finding and securing the grants. To make itself more sustainable, All Walks plans on taking a small transactional fee from grants received that their program has helped secure.

“When we were designing the organization, as a finance major, it was important to me to make a really good business model,” explains Anglen. “We’re not just a nonprofit. We have a model that’s on the trajectory to being sustainable in the long-term.”

The team has already expanded to other Arizona communities, drawing on college volunteers from other major universities in the state. By August of this year they hope to begin scaling to a national level. The team, which gained a fourth member in psychology major, Brittany Ater, made big strides towards national awareness by gaining the endorsement and partnership of Cindy McCain and the McCain Institute. McCain, the wife of 2008 Republican presidential nominee and a highly successful businesswoman and philanthropist, partnered with All Walks to establish the Arizona State University Sex Trafficking Awareness week. The week coincided with the 2015 Super Bowl, which took place in Phoenix.

“We’re very lean and agile,” insists Anglen, who says each team member is planning on continuing to grow and scale the organization. “We have many supplemental revenue streams moving into the future.”