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Social Innovation Fellows

Find and pursue your passion. Make a difference while cultivating valuable relationships with mentors and content experts. Become an innovative problem solver to tackle the grand challenges in our state and the world.

What is the Social Innovation Fellows Program?

A year-long, team-based learning experience, the Social Innovation Fellows program enables NC State’s social entrepreneurs and innovators to consider more fully their impact on humanity and our planet.

Fellows explore issues of ethics and sustainability at the intersection of social sector and responsible business practice. They gain great self understanding and see the impact they can have in their communities and the world.

Our Fellows become keen thinkers and problem solvers who are sensitive to cultural differences. They leave our program prepared to become engaged and responsible global citizens at NC State and beyond.

Fellows work and learn under the guidance of program staff, a Social Entrepreneur in Residence, and faculty, business and community leaders. Fellows learn adaptive leadership skills required of successful entrepreneurs. And they hone technical skills needed to create and launch enterprises and projects that have a positive social impact.

What does it mean to be
a Social Innovation Fellow?

Do you …

  • Have a passion to change the world and want to explore deeply a great social challenge related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals?
  • Currently work on a social venture, product or project solo or with a team; want to join an existing venture team; or have an idea for a project, but don’t know where to go to develop it?
  • Want to work on an interdisciplinary team outside your undergraduate major or graduate program?

If so, you may be a candidate for the Social Innovation Fellows program.

Learn about past Venture Partners

Children eat at a table

Haiti Goat Project
A social enterprise led by Professor Char Farin from the NC State Department of Animal Science, this project helps support the Haitian agricultural community and provide nutritious school lunches to children from rural Haiti in grades pre-K through six. The Fellows will be working to prepare the organization to serve more areas and broaden fundraising.

Workers at Reborn Clothing Co.

Reborn Clothing Co.
A startup created by NC State student Emily Neville, Reborn Clothing Co. reduces textile waste by upcycling unused garments into new products. The Fellows will be helping them manage growth while still being an ethically-sourced and mission-driven business.

Water in the Fields
Part of a health program run by the NC Episcopal Farmworkers Ministry, the Water in the Fields project has the mission of alleviating the challenges of NC farmworkers who work long hours in the sun with limited access to water. Their Fellows team will help test the efficacy of their water bottle program while offering ideas and planning for next steps.

Our Wave
Our Wave, a nonprofit founded by NC State alum Kyle Linton, provides an anonymous online platform for survivors of sexual assault to share their stories and support one another. The Fellows team will be assisting them with outreach and spreading awareness.

700 Rivers
700 Rivers is a startup founded by NC State alum Catherina Gomes to employ women who have escaped sex trafficking in Bangladesh. To support its mission, the company intends to create handmade artisan soaps using sustainable materials and packaging. Their Fellows plan to assist with business development and branding in order to help launch the startup.

Three Haitian schoolgirls

Haiti Goat Project
A venture returning for its second year, the Haiti Goat Project trains Haitian farmers to breed more robust goats in order to provide nutritious local school lunches. The Fellows helped them raise $6,500+ and diversify their funding as a nonprofit.

Man walks in marijuana field

Root Bioscience
Root Bioscience transforms phytocannabinoids into health and wellness products. The Fellows team studied the perception and policy implications of this emerging field, focusing on the challenge of plant waste. They produced a prototype of cat litter and are studying market opportunities.

A tractor in the fields at the AgInnovation Center

Sandhills Region Farming Initiative
In partnership with NC State Extension and the Sandhills AGinnovation Center, the Fellows worked to connect more markets and vendors to local farmers in the Sandhills area by partnering with Freshspire, an online produce marketplace, and Vacation Vittles, an NC State social enterprise.

Farmworker picking tobacco wearing a garbage bag

Farmworker’s Garment Project
The Farmworker’s Garment Project partnered with Wilson College of Textiles researchers to explore the sustainable and cultural challenges in creating a protective garment for migrant farmers suffering from pesticide exposure in rural North Carolina.

Man works on flexcrevator

NC State researchers and the Global WASH Cluster invented the Flexcrevator, a machine for emptying pit latrines. The Fellows team helped refine this technology and developed a trade show marketing strategy and 2D visual tools.

Boy drinks from water tap

Wine to Water
Local nonprofit Wine to Water has committed to providing clean water to over one million people by 2019 by providing water filters to areas without access to clean water. Fellows are working with Wine to Water to provide filter use and cleaning instructions in more languages.

Three Haitian men hold baby goats

Haiti Goat Project
The Haiti Goat Project combats child malnutrition by providing animal-based foods to school lunch programs. The Fellows are working to diversify funding sources by launching a food product for sale in the U.S. and using the profits to invest back into the Project’s mission.

The founders of Freshspire

Freshspire is a platform designed to reduce food waste by grocery stores and restaurants. Fellows are working with the nonprofit to expand contacts, suppliers and restaurants that are interested in adopting the platform.

Rise Against Hunger
Rise Against Hunger is working to find a more sustainable way to distribute packaged meals to those in need. Fellows are working with the team to increase community sustainability efforts.

Plastic averted from the ocean

Ocean Works
The Ocean Works team is working with Fellows to collect plastics littered in oceans and waterways and transform them into usable sustainable products.

A Pack Essentials employee laughing

NC State Food Waste and Food Insecurity
The FWAFI team’s research has determined that as many as 6,000 NC State students suffer from food insecurity. The team aims to reduce food waste on campus, working closely with the university’s agriculture department and farms.

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As the sun sets on another successful cohort of the Fellows, join us in watching their final presentations. Link in bio.
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