University of Florida team named Accenture’s US Innovation Challenge Winner

25 April 2019 2 min. read
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A team from the University of Florida (UF) has been named the winner of leading management and IT consultancy Accenture’s US Innovation Challenge. The challenge, which was launched in 2012, offers American college students the opportunity to help a nonprofit organization achieve a priority goal. Accenture organizes two such competitions per year – one for undergraduates and one for graduates. Competition winners assist in carrying out their proposal with the nonprofit organization and an Accenture consulting team.

The UF team – this year’s undergraduate winner – was selected in March after several rounds of competition. The team’s proposal was aimed at assisting Feeding America, the US’ largest domestic hunger-relief organization. It “called for integration of an existing online app to better connect food donors with nonprofit relief organizations, extend the distribution network, and add new campus ‘ambassadors’ to help raise awareness for addressing food insecurity in and around college communities,” according to a press release. More than 1,100 applicants on 59 teams from 50 universities participated in the competition.

University of Florida team named Accenture’s US Innovation Challenge Winner

“Innovation is fundamentally about making things better and doing so boldly,” Marty Rodgers, managing director of Accenture’s nonprofit practice, said. “In a nation where one in six kids is uncertain of their next meal and up to one in five college students face some degree of food insecurity, we can do better. The Accenture Innovation Challenge asked students to be bold in tackling food insecurity in college communities – and they did not disappoint.”

Feeding America has a network of 200 food banks. It aims to reduce food waste by redirecting uneaten or unused food to people in need. “The passion and ideas the students presented demonstrated this generation’s commitment to engage in community service,” Blake Thompson, Feeding America’s chief supply chain officer, said. “It’s encouraging to see as we lean in more to explore innovative ideas that help drive our vision of a hunger-free America forward in the coming years.”

Accenture is no stranger to corporate social responsibility-related ventures. In June 2018, the firm announced that it would spend $200 million on digital training for disadvantaged youths. The initiative, known as “Skills to Succeed,” is a free virtual school that trains young people in digital skills that will help them acquire jobs in the future economy. The initiative was launched in the UK in 2013. It also operates in Ireland, Australia, and South Africa.

Related: Accenture Interactive acquires ad agency Droga5