Pharrell Williams Creates Winning XPRIZE Concept at Visioneering Summit

XPRIZE celebrates 25 years of innovation at annual Visioneering Summit of global philanthropists, entrepreneurs and thought leaders, focusing on the environment and healthy living

LOS ANGELES (October 8, 2019) — While celebrating its 25th anniversary, XPRIZE, the global leading platform for innovation and impact through incentive competitions, announced five winning concepts during Visioneering 2019, the foundation’s annual gathering to design and evaluate future competitions.

During Visioneering, over 50 XPRIZE designs were proposed, with five XPRIZE concepts winning in the categories of food and agriculture, human health and longevity sponsored by Anthem, waste and circular economy sponsored by Intel, and housing and infrastructure. In the finals, the crowd voted the Charter Communities concept in the housing and infrastructure category as the top winner. The Charter Communities XPRIZE team was led by visionary artist, producer, songwriter, philanthropist and entrepreneur Pharrell Williams and supported by the Andrew Nikou Foundation and philanthropists like John-Paul Dejoria. The XPRIZE concept proposed a competition to create transformational public housing alternatives that will provide a self-sustaining life beyond subsidized housing. This latest prize idea adds to the legacy of XPRIZE, which has launched 17 competitions and offered more than $150M in prize funds since its inception 25 years ago.

During Visioneering, over $15M was pledged by philanthropists at the event to support XPRIZE and prize development.

Read More

Blackstone LaunchPad Alumnus Launches Book ‘Adversity to Advantage: How to Overcome Bullying & Find Entrepreneurial Success’

Randy Ginsburg ’19 recently launched a book titled “Adversity to Advantage: How to Overcome Bullying & Find Entrepreneurial Success.” Ginsburg, a graduate of the Whitman School, earned a double major in entrepreneurship and marketing and is an alumnus of the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars (LaunchPad) at Syracuse University Libraries program. The book was written to inspire those who were bullied with wisdom and advice from a diverse group of successful entrepreneurs who have overcome that negative experience and used it as a stepping stone for personal and entrepreneurial growth.

“I wrote the book out of a desire to create, but also to prove myself to all the people who mistreated me or doubted me in the past,” Ginsburg says. “Not only have my experiences with bullying helped me find my passion for entrepreneurship, but they also provided me with a chip on my shoulder that constantly fuels my fire to succeed.” The book is available through Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.

According to research cited in Ginsburg’s book, every seven minutes a child is bullied and one out of every three students in the United States has been targeted at school. Although conventional wisdom says that bullying is exclusively detrimental to one’s health, studies show that 47 percent of victims report a positive effect on their adult lives. The book shares stories of successful entrepreneurs’ bullying experiences, including: Tom Ford, who beat bullying to launch one of the world’s largest fashion houses and reinvent himself as an award-winning filmmaker; Elon Musk, whose familiarity with pain helped him to start PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX; and Andrew Nikou, who defeated bullies and went on to found OpenGate Capital, a multi-billion-dollar global private equity firm.

Read More