Blum Center seeks poverty-alleviating contest submissions

Orange County residents are invited to submit to UC Irvine's Blum Center for Global Engagement technology-based proposals aimed at solving poverty-related problems.

Submissions are being accepted until May 15 for the contest, called Designing Solutions for Poverty. Participants are asked to focus on one poverty issue of their choice such as starvation, water, disease or homelessness, regardless of whether the problem is particular to Orange County or not.

"Over the years, there have been similar competitions run by [UC] Berkeley," said Richard Matthew, a professor and the center's director. "Orange County has just as much ingenuity and creativity as Silicon Valley. This will be an exciting way to get the community engaged in solving poverty challenges."

Entrants may submit a prototype of their proposed solution, but this is not necessary.

"Submissions just need to describe a viable idea to solve a poverty problem and why the idea is effective," Matthew said.

A review committee from the Blum Center, which uses scholarship in focusing on poverty alleviation, will select the top three proposals and invite those applicants to a private event June 6, during which they will present their solutions to experts and potential investors. The winner of the competition will be determined that day.

He or she will then work with the center and guests at the event to turn the proposal into a functioning solution.

The winner will also receive an all-expenses paid weekend for six at the Pelican Hill resort.