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2021 OSV Challenge Announces Semi-Finalists and Accelerator Partnership with UST-Houston

Innovative ideas move to semi-final round of annual competition to win $100,000; UST joins as accelerator partner.

OSVI Challenge LogoUniversity of St. Thomas Participates in OSV Challenge Accelerator Round

OSV Institute for Catholic Innovation announces the next phase of the 2021 OSV Challenge, a multi-round entrepreneurial competition to accelerate unique project ideas from Catholics whose faith has motivated them to make a difference. Out of 182 innovators from Round Two, a total of 24 applicants have been selected for advancement to the Semi-Final Round. There, they will compete for one of three $100,000-prizes to advance the winners' missions. The Semi-Final Round includes the six-week OSV Challenge Accelerator, for which the University of St. Thomas - Houston (UST) is coordinating this year's curriculum and mentoring process. 

UST Plays a Vital Role, Provides Summer Boot Camp

The OSV Challenge Accelerator offers the next-level professional guidance, spiritual formation, and personal development needed for optimal impact on the Church and the world. This year’s Accelerator is sponsored by UST - Houston, Texas, the destination city for this year’s OSV Innovation Summit, the finale for the 2021 OSV Challenge. 

The University's Cameron School of Business plays a vital role, providing an 18-hour summer boot camp. Camp will include in-person and online entrepreneurial education with content to enhance the Catholic innovators' spiritual development and business understanding.

Alongside OSV Institute, UST will develop a success scorecard to evaluate the program and provide input to the judges for determining the 12 finalists from the 24 semi-finalists. 

“It’s an honor to partner with Dr. Ludwick and his team as we continue to enhance the OSV Challenge Accelerator experience for our semi-finalists," said Jason Shanks, President of OSV Institute for Catholic Innovation. "UST's focus on innovation, along with their view of the University as an apostolate for the New Evangelization, makes them an ideal strategic partner for the OSV Challenge.”

UST President Dr. Richard Ludwick said, “UST and OSV Institute are embarking together on a new collaboration. Our mutual purpose is as ancient as the Christian experience and as future-focused as the promise of tomorrow. Innovation is a hallmark of Catholic vitality, and it is altogether right and good that UST and OSV Institute would team up to advance it. We are excited by the potential this relationship brings.” 

Meet the Semi-Finalists, Next Steps

This year’s pool of 24 semi-finalists consists of the following: Saint Joseph's Home for Artisans, The Innovative Catholic Lab School, Tabella, My Catholic Doctor, FemCatholic, Safe Passage Project, Quo Vadis Catholic, Simple Small Group, Red Bird Ministries, Faith Journeys Foundation, Perfect Love Casts Out Fear, Iskali Ministry Program, Cycle Prep, Springs in the Desert, Visible Miracles for the Mass, Dragon Slayers, Bendecida, Fiat Project, Catholic in Recovery, Dropout, De Porres Project, Hem of Christ Ministry, Connect, and Accepting the Gift. 

On August 30, upon completion of the OSV Challenge Accelerator, 12 finalists will be announced. They will have demonstrated their ability to blaze a trail, leave a legacy and actualize their ideas, best representing the core values of the OSV Challenge. 

“These finalists, and all our challengers, have heard God’s call to create a better world," said Dr. Matt Smith, Director of Strategic Alliances at OSV Institute for Catholic Innovation. "The Accelerator will facilitate them on their journey to enrich the Church,” said Dr. Matt Smith, Director of Strategic Alliances at OSV Institute for Catholic Innovation. 

OSV Innovation Summit

This year’s contest will conclude with the OSV Innovation Summit, a weekend of special festivities from September 17-19 in Houston. The OSV Challenge Showcase on September 18 will be the featured event for the weekend. The 12 finalists will present their sharpened pitches to a panel of 5 judges in the presence of their peers and investors as they pursue one of three $100,000 prizes and/or further investment. A limited number of tickets are available to the public for $79 each at osvinstitute.com/summit. 

For more Info

For more information on the 24 semi-finalists and a complete press kit, visit https://www.osvchallenge.com/press. 

To schedule an interview with Jason Shanks or Dr. Matt Smith, contact Carrie Kline at carriek@revolutionizingmissions.com. To schedule an interview with Dr. Beena George, chief innovation officer at UST, or Mario Enzler, dean of the Cameron School of Business, about the Summer Boot Camp, contact george@stthom.edu.