University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Acara is the impact entrepreneurship program of the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment in partnership with the College of Science and Engineering and the Carlson School of Management. Through Acara’s courses, workshops and field experiences, students develop impact ventures that address societal and environmental challenges.


Fall 2014 Grand Challenge Impact Studio – Applications Open!

Poverty. Social inequality. World hunger. Climate change. Disease. Religious intolerance. These are some of the Grand Challenges President Kaler called out in his 2014 State of the University speech. Are you interested in one of these Challenges? Or perhaps another Grand Challenge like renewable energy or local food security? There are many students who are interested in these topics, and are even taking courses on developing solutions. Or perhaps you already have a venture or business idea. The Grand Challenge Impact Studio is a new initiative at the UMN to work in conjunction with existing programs and help you develop and solidify your idea, connect with a strong network of mentors and allow focused time on your idea. APPLY HERE!!! MORE INFORMATION ON OUR BLOG.

Acara Open House and Showcase 2014

The Institute on the Environment will host the Acara Showcase and Open House 2014: Outcomes & Opportunities on Tuesday, September 9th, 5-7:30pm, at IonE on the St. Paul Campus. Come share in the story of Acara with directors Fred Rose and Julian Marshall, as well as recent Acara scholars. Learn about their experiences in the program and how they are inspiring change through their creative social ventures. Great cuisine catered by Acara Challenge alum Emily Torgrimson (Eat for Equity) and great conversation will make this an evening to remember! RSVP NOW!!! 

Dow SISCA Challenge 2014

Graduate students: Are you up for a challenge? The Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award (SISCA), a program of IonE and the Dow Chemical Company, rewards students for innovation and research that encourages and promotes sustainable solutions to the world’s most pressing social, economic and environmental problems. Initial applications due October 31. APPLY NOW!!!

Acara Challenge Course Fall 2014

In the Acara Challenge Course, multidisciplinary teams of UMN students create scalable impact venture solutions to solve environmental and societal challenges in India. We’re pumped to work with 28 highly skilled incoming Acara students from across the university starting September 5, as they seek to change the world through business in collaboration with professional mentors from the US and India.

Minnesota Cup Finalists Selected

Congratulations to the 21 final teams in the 2014 Minnesota Cup! From 1300 applicants to 70 semi-finalists (including 4 Acara teams), the finalists have been narrowed down and are now vying for $300,000 in award funding to grow their ventures. IonE Acara team members Fred Rose and Brian Bell are review board members of the 2014 MN Cup Social Entrepreneur Division.

Acara 2014/5 Courses and Challenge

The Acara sequence of courses, and subsequent Challenge, offer a unique way to get involved in creating sustainable solutions for social and environmental change. Find out about the courses and the Challenge.  Learn more

Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award (SISCA)

SISCA, a program of IonE and the Dow Chemical Company, recognizes and rewards students and universities for innovation and research that encourages and promotes sustainable solutions to the world’s most pressing social, economic and environmental problems.  Learn more

Discovery India – UMN Study Abroad – Bangalore, India

2013 Acra workshop day1 21

In May 2014,  we spent three weeks learning about development challenges and creating venture plans with UMN students in Bangalore, India. Through field trips and interactions with entrepreneurs we explored topics such as water, energy, waste, and food. Learn more

Acara is a social entrepreneurship program of the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment in partnership with the College of Science and Engineering and the Carlson School of Management.

September 5, 2014 :Fall Acara Challenge course begins

September 9, 2014: Acara Open House

October 31, 2014: Dow SISCA Applications Due

December 4, 2014: Dow SISCA Final Presentations