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The contest that birthed one of the founding members of Volta, the largest free electric car charging network in the nation, is calling for more entrepreneurial breakthroughs. The University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa’s Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) is inviting entrepreneurs to enter the UH Breakthrough Innovation Challenge to help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.

This year’s UH Breakthrough Innovation Challenge, in partnership with the College of Engineering, William S. Richardson School of Law and College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, will focus on food, energy and water. UH students and faculty should submit entries for ideas that aim to solve these global issues, by sharing innovative solutions to end world hunger and provide systems for sustainable food supply, generating or storing energy, and enabling all global citizens to have access to clean water. Also related to these themes are innovative solutions for problems in public transportation.

Contestants will submit a two-minute video entry. These entries will be viewed by a panel that will select finalists. Each finalist will be paired with a business coach from the community. Finalists will vie for cash awards on November 16 in front of a live judging panel and audience. Cash prizes are $100 for each finalist; $500 2nd prize; $1,000 1st prize; and $500 Audience Choice. The challenge is generously sponsored by Accuity LLP, one of Hawaiʻi‘s largest and most experienced professional accounting firms.

The deadline to register is October 5. To register, individuals and teams must submit an online form.

Since the UH Breakthrough Innovation Challenge was launched in 2010, winning entries have led to entrepreneurial initiatives such as a NASA nanosatellite launch and the startup of Akabotics, which provides waterway maintenance solutions using microdredging robots.

PACE provides high quality education in the form of entrepreneurial programs and curriculum for students. In addition, it also trains key faculty on current entrepreneurial instruction and supports the commercialization of UH technology and innovation to establish UH as a leader in entrepreneurial education.

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