Jessica Henry
Student Writer

Tonight six teams will compete on the stage of Parmer Hall in the finale of the Impact Venture Challenge to win a piece of $10,000 to further their idea. First place earns $5,000, second place $3,000, and third place $2,000.

According to their website, the Impact Venture Challenge is a “faith-informed competition where business ideas and hearts for social good emerge, combining and collaborating to create long-lasting and global change.”

Some teams, like Meraki Mocha and Life Beyond Boundaries, were inspired by personal relationships they have.

Meraki Mocha is a farm-to-table café that will employ people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The founder and CEO of the company, Sierra Wood, came up with the idea after seeing the paycheck of a friend with Down syndrome and being frustrated by the lack of compensation she receives for her work.

“It is frustrating to us to see people who are capable, talented and hard-working, not receive the same pay or recognition as others,” Wood said. “We believe people with disabilities have strengths, giftings and abilities that should be valued in the workforce.”

Life Beyond Boundaries is an organization that hopes to encourage youth to overcome obstacles in life and also to break down social boundaries like socioeconomic standing, ethnicity, and disabilities. They plan to accomplish this through school assemblies, youth events, branded apparel and social media. The idea was inspired by Adam Settle, a senior in the life skills class at Northern York High School, who has cobalamin C deficiency, a rare metabolic disorder, and Best disease.

“However, what makes Adam’s story so impactful isn’t the challenges he faces, but rather the way he views them, and the way he views others,” senior business administration major Richard Settle said. “It is the two central themes in Adam’s life, overcoming obstacles and his passion for others, that inspired the creation of our company.”

Other teams, like Book Look University and ServeCentral, developed their ideas based on needs of the greater community.

Book Look University, founded by senior business administration major Alexa Argento and her brother Alec, is a mobile application that allows students to buy and sell textbooks directly from and to each other. They plan to use a portion of their income to provide scholarships to students at Logos Academy, a Christian school for low income and at-risk youth in York, to attend Messiah.

“We aim to help students receive a higher return for textbooks they are finished using, as well as benefit from being able to purchase people used books for cheaper prices,” Alexa Argento said.

ServeCentral is a web and mobile application designed with the purpose of connecting people with service events in the area around them. The team plans to work with event planners, organizations, and businesses in order to give them event data analytics, an easy registration process, and additional advertisement. The idea came when the team was doing research and discovered that the reason public service has been on the decline over the last decade is because of lack of knowledge of where to find service events and lack of awareness of a need for volunteers.

“We hope to inspire others to serve in their communities more frequently by making service events easy to find and easy to sign up for,” Founder & CEO Tyler Collins said.

Yuán is a mobile application that focuses on alleviating the symptoms of depression by providing a platform for authentic relationships. It encourages users to spend time with other people as they explore the world around them.

Gestur is an iPhone and iPad application that translates American Sign Language to written text with the goal of improving communication for the deaf community.

All of the teams will present live pitches of their ideas tonight at 7 p.m. You can help decide the winners of the cash by voting for the team you think deserves to win at Audience votes count for 20 percent of the scoring.