mtvU begins search for college activists

MtvU and the New York Stock Exchange Euronext are sponsoring a nationwide competition called “Movers & Changers,” which challenges budding entrepreneurs to promote social change through innovative business ideas.

The contest invites 16-28 year old college students, individually or in teams of up to three, to submit business proposals for ideas that will have a positive impact on society. The contest will run until Oct. 16, culminating in a short-form series premiering on Nov. 23 on mtvU featuring the finalists. The winner will be rewarded $25,000 in start-up money and the opportunity to ring the opening bell at the NYSE.

Carlo DiMarco, Vice President of University Relations for mtvU, said that mtvU has a legacy of giving college students exciting opportunities and “Movers & Changers” will provide students the platform to interact and connect with the most influential business leaders in the world.

“College students are on the front lines of social change,” DiMarco said. “They have boundless creativity.”

The three finalists with the most compelling business proposals will present their ideas in New York City at NYSE Euronext’s Global Entrepreneurship Week: Mentoring Madness to a team of panelists, including TOMS Shoes founder and “chief shoe giver” Blake Mycoskie.

When considering judges for the “Movers & Changers” Board, DiMarco said that it was a “no brainer” choosing Mycoskie, whose TOMS Shoes company has given over 150,000 pairs of shoes to underprivileged children in developing countries since 2006 and is projected to sell over 300,000 pairs by the end of the year.

“Blake is a good model and he encapsulates what an entrepreneur is,” he said. “He is the de facto social entrepreneur. He’s helping society and even eradicating disease.”
Blake Mycoskie was inspired to create TOMS Shoes after meeting barefoot children in Argentina. He founded the organization that would donate a pair of shoes for every pair purchased.

Shoes are delivered worldwide through volunteers and staff. TOMS Shoes currently visits Argentina monthly and gives shoes away five days a week in Ethiopia. There is also the Vagabond Tour, which reaches college campuses across the country to spread the message of TOMS Shoes.

Many children in developing nations walk around barefoot and are extremely susceptible to health risks. Also, children are not allowed to attend school unless they own a pair of shoes. TOMS Shoes believes that these issues can be easily prevented with a pair of shoes.

TOMS Shoes are modeled after the alpargata shoes the local Argentineans wore while Mycoskie first visited the country. They are made of canvas or cotton fabrics and now come in hundreds of different styles and can be customizable.

Students can submit entries online at until Oct. 16. Submissions should include a detailed business plan. Students are also encouraged to submit a video “elevator pitch” which explains the basic nature of the idea.

Dana Cassidy can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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