Past Acara Fellows

Previous Acara fellowships included the following:

Eat for Equity 

Emily Torgrimsoon

Eat for Equity builds a culture of generosity through sustainable community feasts that raise money for non-profit causes. There are 10 chapters around the US. Visit their website, or learn more from the Star Tribune feature story.

Mighty Axe Hops

Eric Sannurud and Ben Boo

Mighty Axe Hops provides Minnesota craft breweries with rare, local, and organic hops.  Mighty Axe Hops was a semifinalist in the 2014 MN Cup, and recently secured funding and land for company expansion to 80 acres. Connect with Mighty Axe Hops on Facebook. Mighty news: Minnesota Business June 2016, The Growler MagazineSocial Entrepreneur Podcast with Tony Loyd.

Siobhan Powers

Patricia Columbus-Powers

Patricia started this high-end Native American fashion house that allows consumers to represent Native American success and contribute to empowering Native American designers to end cultural appropriation of Native American culture in fashion, provide employment to Native American felons, and promote healing and self-expression through art. Patricia was featured in the Minnesota Alumni Magazine.

Minnesota Freedom Fund

Simon Cecil & Adam Rao

The Minnesota Freedom Fund  pays bail for low-income individuals and connects them with legal support, helping them reconnect with their jobs, homes and families. It seeks to cast light on inequities in the legal system and ensure that no one is stuck in jail for the crime of being poor. Read the Star Tribune article here.

Pure Paani

Chris Bulkley-Logston & Kaylea Brase

Pure Paani provides portable, hand-operated water filtration devices to a network of micro-entrepreneurs living in communities in which potable water access is minimal. Pure Paani plans on initiating a pilot study, which involves testing the effectiveness of the filter, gathering customer feedback, developing a product assembly procedure and assessing the business model.

SMS Maama

Sonja Ausen-Anifrani, Katelyn Pastick & Meg KenKnight Burman

SMS Maama is a text messaging service for pregnant women in Uganda. Women receive informational and interactive screening texts and are connected with a midwife should follow-up be indicated. Read more from the School of Public Health here, listen to Sonja’s interview on the Social Entrepreneur podcast here.


Steele Lorenz

MyRain is improving water use in India by selling drip irrigation kits to subsistence farmers through an affordable lease-to-own program. MyRain was one of 17 chosen from 520 applicants in 90 countries to receive a Securing Water for Food: A Grand Challenge Development award. MyRain is supported by USAID under the Securing Water for Food (SWFF) program, learn more here. Founder Steele Lorenz was interviewed by Tony Loyd on his podcast, Social Entrepreneur – listen here.

Beekeeping and Honey Networking in India

Erin Kayser

Kayser utilized her background as a beekeeper to help Last Forest Enterprises connect with local honey sources to bring sustainable, organic and fair trade honey from farmers to consumers and other organizations.  She also studied hive management and how it can help successfully increase a farmer’s income.

Bringing Healthcare to Remote India

Robin Walz

Walz worked with the SELCO foundation to assess local health-care infrastructure and identify ways in which the organization could improve access to quality health care for remote locations in India. His work involved studying the health-care system, visiting health centers and health professionals, and researching health-care technology innovations from around the world.

Ova Woman: Supporting Women’s Intimate Health

Elise Maxwell

Ova Woman had the vision of promoting the use of menstrual cups for local women with the support of Acara. Now, her company supports a variety of women’s intimate health initiatives through education, e-commerce and building a customer community. Connect on Facebook.

2017 Fellows:


Sebastian Nemec

“Because shopping should be easy for anybody”. Folx provides one e-commerce store for transgender people to find the products they are looking for.

The Local Beat

Graham Ambrose

The Local Beat is a marketing ecosystem promoting prosperity for small, local farmers by revolutionizing logistics, purchasing power, safety and what consumers know about their food.

La Mesa

Maria Bonilla

La Mesa is a local, plant-based meal kit delivery service, providing sustainably sourced meal options to busy adults.

One Day Tech

Harpreet Sandhawalia and Zachary Hofeld

One Day Tech provides K-12 teachers in low-income communities an easy-to- use tool that automates the classrooms management, effortlessly keeps parents up-to- date, and builds a student-centered culture of achievement.

Stop the Traffick

Christy Choi, Eva Okedele, and Sarah Lentz

Stop the Traffick reduces sex trafficking in Minneapolis by raising awareness and targeting buyers to reduce demand.

Kaloli Energy

Margaret Kristian, Claire Irwin, Ben Ihde, and Peder Garnaas-Halvorson

Kaloli Energy is a subscription service that combines sustainable fuel delivery and waste collection in one convenient experience. This team aims to reduce deforestation and increase urban waste management in Uganda all in one service that is easily accessible to locals in Kampala.


Alana Helin, Tyler Olsen, Rachel Kieser, and Priyanka Shah

Monsun aims to enable Bangalore residents to install rainwater harvesting systems, an alternative clean water source, on their home by offering an affordable lease-to-own payment program.


Marah Cuadrado Labey and Mariah Dooley

The vision of Luminaria is to install centralized solar charging stations for mid-sized, portable batteries which will bring electricity to households in rural communities of Nicaragua.