Acara Competitions

Acara hosts three competitions open to University of Minnesota students each year:

Acara Challenge

The Acara Challenge is a competition for students with ideas for financially sustainable social ventures that address social and environmental challenges. Students receive intensive training and mentoring to learn how to best pitch their ideas at the competition, then compete for up to $500 in competition prizes and $5,000 in fellowship funding. Applications are accepted from students from all majors and in all stages of project development.

Learn more


The D-Prize provides funding of up to $20,000 to entrepreneurs who are working on implementing poverty solutions in Africa, India, or other developing regions.

Learn more

Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award

The Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award, a program of IonE and the Dow Chemical Company, recognizes the innovative work of University of Minnesota graduate and professional students pursuing sustainable solutions to environmental problems. Awards include a $10,000 grand prize and $2,500 for a runner-up project.

Learn more