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2 nonprofits and a game won UCI grants to try to help people in poverty

UC Irvine’s Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation recently hosted a contest to find innovative and sustainable business plans that could help people in poverty.

The third annual Designing Solutions for Poverty Competition received 35 applications. Similar to the reality-television show “Shark Tank,” semifinalists were given 10 minutes to pitch their business ideas. Judges then had 10 minutes to ask questions, provide criticism and offer feedback.

Two local nonprofits and a board game were announced as winners Thursday. In addition to grants, they will be offered business mentoring and support from the Blum Center to further their projects.

Chad Trainer of Santa Ana-based Esqalate won $10,000 for his nonprofit’s two web-based platforms, Proboknow and Lowboknow. The systems help connect low-income Americans with new attorneys who need practice experience.

Andrew Crawford and his team with the Institute for Money, Technology & Financial Inclusion at UC Irvine won $5,000 to develop an app for the savings game Loy Loy. Loy Loy is an educational board game already in use in Cambodian and American low-income communities. The game lets players be a character that moves around the board and, based on cards, manages expenses, wages and assets.

Tony Everett’s Pure Game earned $5,000. The Lake Forest-based nonprofit uses soccer to help low-income children develop social skills and character traits.

Twitter: @vegapriscella


2:50 p.m.: This article was updated to include Andrew Crawford’s team with the Institute for Money, Technology & Financial Inclusion among the winners.

This article was originally published at 11:10 a.m.

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