Kellogg Announces 2016 Social Impact Awards Winners


Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University has announced the winners for its Social Impact Awards 2016 under which three of its students will receive a total of $170,000 to launch and develop their start-ups committed to addressing social or environmental challenges.

The three students to receive the Awards are Pablo Jaramillo, Blair Pircon (both Class of 2016) and Jacqueline Perlman (Evening and weekend student).

Jaramillo and Pircon will receive $70,000 and Perlman $30,000, Kellogg said in a statement.

Online Marketplace Start-up

Pablo Jaramillo won the Kellogg Social Entrepreneurship Award. Along with his friend and business partner Juan Cadavid, a student at NYU Stern, Jaramillo founded Grou, an online marketplace for agricultural products in Latin America.

It enables local small farmers to get a fair price for their produce by providing a secure, easy-to-use sales channel connecting them to  business firms.

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Grou representatives personally visit each farm and organize the logistics and payment in order to ensure value, high quality of product and service. Its unique and efficient supply chain also reduces food waste as well as increase farmers’ income.

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 every day,” said Jaramillo. “This prize will help us substantially along the way,” he added.

Online Teachers’ Platform

Pircon won the NewDay Social Entrepreneurship Award for the Graide Network, which she founded last year.  It is an online platform connecting teachers with remote, on-demand teaching assistants to grade and provide feedback on students’ work.

“Graiders” are undergraduate students who are aspiring teachers with   commitment and passion for teaching. The company’s core mission is to improve literacy and student engagement through timely, actionable and high-quality feedback.

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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 and the need to build college and career skills is critical, this extra feedback is essential.

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

Fashion to Inspire Students’ Goals

A student in the Evening & Weekend MBA Program, Perlman received The NewDay Social Entrepreneurship Summer Award for My Favorite Outfit (MFO). It 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.

“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. (Image Courtesy :


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