For the past six years, Dell team members, social entrepreneurship enthusiasts and some of the brightest young minds in the world have stood in a crowded room anticipating the announcement of the winner of the Dell Social Innovation Challenge. I’ve been lucky enough to share in this anticipation for the past three years as a member of Dell’s Corporate Responsibility team. Each year, my heart fills with excitement and I get that overwhelming feeling that I am – that Dell is – part of something greater, something innovative and something inspiring. This year was no exception.

DSIA12 winners!

Left to right: Thomas of Meredith Meritage Capital, LP; Diana Jue and Jackie Stenson of Essmart, winners of the 2012 Dell Social Innovation Challenge #DSIA12; also, Dell’s Trisa Thompson and UT Austin’s Suzi Sosa.
Photo credit:
Brian Berzer photography

I am proud to announce Essmart Global as the winner of the 2012 Dell Social Innovation Challenge, offered by the University of Texas. Essmart sources essential high-quality technologies and distributes them to local retail shops in rural markets. Those shop owners then sell the different technologies – from solar lights to water filtration systems – to local citizens who might otherwise not have access to them. Essmart will receive $50,000, mentorship, and a good dose of moral and organizational support to help move their organization forward and bring their innovative ideas to life. The company’s drive and passion to change the world is what this challenge is all about. Dell was founded by a student entrepreneur in a college dorm room, and this kind of passion is at the core of who we are. I am thrilled that Dell will play a part in Essmart’s effort to make a positive impact on communities around the world.

I’d like to also take a minute to congratulate all of our finalists and special award winners who spent this past weekend with our mentors, leaders, and fellow participants as they learned from each other and shared the secrets of their passion to make a difference. The bright future that lies ahead for each of them and each of their inspiring projects is undeniable, and I’m excited to follow their progress in the years ahead.

If there is one thing I’d like others to walk away with from this year’s challenge, it’s to never stop being a vessel for social change. We can’t wait to see what Essmart will accomplish this year — and in years to come. We have the same intrigue, passion and excitement for all of our finalists, our semi-finalists and everyone around the world looking to make a difference. Our online community is thriving with more than 90,000 members who want to help each other and bring world changing ideas to life. If you’re looking to change the world, start here. You just might find the tools you need to make a difference.