Shah Family Global Innovation Lab and Purdue Foundry join forces to launch 'Shah Lab Social Impact Firestarter'

Shah Family Global Innovation Lab at GEPP in the College of Engineering is joining forces with Purdue Foundry to launch a new program – ‘Shah Lab Social Impact Firestarter’. This program is built on the Foundry’s highly acknowledged Firestarter program, and is designed specifically for Shah Lab’s Seed Grant Awardees. The vision of the Program is to assist the Seed Grant Award recipients, in achieving their social impact goals efficiently and sustainably. 

Each year the Shah Lab gives out Seed Grant Awards to promising faculty and external partner teams to support them in translating Purdue R&D into solutions for impact. Working alongside domestic and international partners, Purdue faculty and students create innovative solutions to tackle some of the most complex socioeconomic challenges across food security, health and wellbeing, education, humanitarian response, water and sanitation, energy, environment and infrastructure.  In the past 4 years, Shah Lab has supported more than 25 such teams and has facilitated partnerships across sectors with collaborators spanning more than 15 countries. While the seed grant has supported the translation of R&D into relevant and applicable solutions, there was a need for systematic support to the teams who wanted to explore the route of social entrepreneurship in order to scale their solutions both at home and in other regions of the world. 

“The Social Impact Firestarter will help our Seed grant winners take their ideas and innovations and expand it beyond their initial partners and markets, thereby creating channels to provide their solutions to reach populations who may benefit from it, both at home and in other countries” Says Pallavi Gupta, Asst. Director of Programs for Shah Family Global Innovation Lab.

For the past seven years Purdue Foundry has supported the Purdue community as they translate their innovations into scalable businesses, by offering an array of services through workshops, educational and mentoring programs that supports the cohorts in thinking through their funding, marketing, and networking systematically. Foundry’s Firestarter has been a great success that has played an important role in making Purdue the fifth most innovative school in the country. 

The Shah Lab Social Impact Firestarter Program combines the strengths of Shah Lab and Foundry with a vision to create a supporting ecosystem for Purdue faculty and students to translate their ideas into ethical, relevant, sustainable and scalable social enterprises. The focus of the program will be to support the cohorts in articulating alternative strategies of achieving social and equitable impact, sustainably. 

“Shah Lab Social Impact Firestarter is a great way of achieving our impact mission that is at the core of our land grant mission. In coming years, we want to expand this program to include any faculty or student who is interested in using their skills and knowledge for social impact, we also want to open this up to other Indiana residents who want to create social startups to alleviate issues at home”, says Bill Arnold, Managing Director, Purdue Foundry.