Turning Students Into Social Entrepreneurs

Ford connects with students through Enactus World Cup and pitch competition at the company's Greenfield Labs

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Ford Motor Company Fund President Jim Vella had straightforward advice for university students looking to turn their passion for social good into action.

"No one expects you to save the world. Just save your part of it," Vella told a group of international students attending the 2019 Enactus World Cup here this week.

For its part, Ford Motor Company Fund is increasing its focus on social entrepreneurs by awarding $150,000 to student-led projects that will make lives better for people across the globe. The awards include $60,000 for participants in the Ford Mobility Innovation Challenge. The challenge is a pitch competition held at Greenfield Labs in Palo Alto, Calif., where Ford researchers are working on self-driving vehicles, drones and other future technologies.

Winners are:

  • University College of Management Studies, Ghana — awarded $30,000 for a hybrid powered tricycle ambulance that would run off solar power.
  • Maynooth University and Dublin City University, Ireland — awarded $20,000 for a mapping tool aimed at people with intellectual or physical disabilities.
  • Gulf Coast State College, Panama City, Fla., — awarded $10,000 for a project that will work to reduce response time and improve safety of first responders.

As part of the 2019 World Cup, Ford also awarded $90,000 in Ford Better World prize money to teams from Enactus Egypt at Cairo University, Enactus Canada at Lambton College; Enactus Germany at University of Mannheim; and Enactus United States at Brigham Young University-Hawaii Enactus.