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Pablo Jaramillo '16 presents his startup Grou, an online marketplace for agricultural products in Latin America, during a competition in May. Jaramillo won the Kellogg Social Entrepreneurship Award.

A trio of Kellogg students won a total of $170,000 to launch and develop their social impact startups through Kellogg’s annual social impact awards.

Kellogg announces 2016 Social Impact Awards winners

Three Kellogg social entrepreneurs will receive a total of $170,000 to launch and develop their startups


6/13/2016 - A trio of Kellogg students won a total of $170,000 to launch and develop their social impact startups through Kellogg’s annual social impact awards.

Pablo Jaramillo ’16, Blair Pircon ’16 and Evening & Weekend student Jacqueline Perlman were honored for their work in developing startups that are committed to addressing social or environmental challenges through novel, sustainable and well-developed visions.

Jaramillo won the Kellogg Social Entrepreneurship Award. Pircon won the NewDay Social Entrepreneurship Award and Perlman won the NewDay Social Entrepreneurship Summer Award.  The NewDay awards are specifically awarded to social ventures that are located in, or benefit the Chicago area.

Both Jaramillo and Pircon will receive $70,000. Perlman will receive $30,000.

“These three students have impressed us with their vision and dedication. We look forward to watching their ventures grow and forge a positive impact,” said Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of Social Impact at Kellogg, Megan Kashner ’03.

Along with and his business partner and friend Juan Cadavid, a student at NYU Stern, Jaramillo founded Grou, an online marketplace for agricultural products in Latin America. By providing a secure, easy-to-use sales channel where businesses and farmers can connect, Grou enables local smallholder farmers to get a fair price for their produce.

Grou representatives personally visit each farm and organize the logistics and payment in order to ensure value, high quality of product and service, and ultimate satisfaction for all parties. Grou’s unique and efficient supply chain also reduces food waste as well as increasing farmers’ income, enabling them to flourish and grow in their community.

The prize money will be used to further develop Grou and expand it into new territories in Latin America.

“We immensely appreciate Kellogg’s support of our project and look forward to bringing Grou to the smallholder farmers in Latin America who put so much effort into harvesting the food we enjoy everyday,” said Jaramillo. “This prize will help us substantially along the way.”

Pircon won her second NewDay Social Impact Award for The Graide Network, which she founded last year.

The Graide Network is an online platform connecting teachers with remote, on-demand teaching assistants to grade and provide thorough feedback on student work. “Graiders” are undergraduate students who are aspiring teachers and demonstrate a commitment and passion for teaching. The company’s core mission is to improve literacy and student engagement through timely, actionable and high-quality feedback.

The Graide Network began working with teachers in Chicago to double the amount of feedback they are delivering to their students. In classrooms where many students enter behind grade level expectations — where the need to build college and career skills is so critical — this extra feedback is essential.

The Graide Network’s goal is to impact student learning at scale, empowering millions of teachers and hundreds of millions of students across the country and around the world.

Pircon said she will use the prize money to fund investments in technology and operations, specifically the work of her developers, and hire a member success manager as the company’s first full-time employee.

A student in the Evening & Weekend MBA Program, Perlman received The NewDay Social Entrepreneurship Summer Award for My Favorite Outfit (MFO), which is piloting a new high school program that uses fashion to inspire students to pursue goals of college and career.

MFO got its start using fashion to empower at-risk girls in Chicago's underserved south and west side communities. MFO now partners with 26 schools and uses in-school workshops to educate girls on how clothing and self-esteem intersect. The girls put what they learn into practice when they are allowed to shop for a free outfit from donated clothing.

Perlman said the prize money will go toward a programmatic pivot that uses fashion as a career readiness and mentoring vehicle.


Questions about this article? Email Social Impact at socialimpact@kellogg.northwestern.edu »