Students Create Tourism and Lifestyle Business for Hikers to Win Social Impact Challenge

October 28, 2021

Bradley University students Matthew Klein and Devin Soldati created a tourism and lifestyle business called Hikers Inc. and took first place at the 2021 Social Impact Challenge.

The Social Impact Challenge is a Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation competition that encourages innovative ideas for positive social impact. Hikers Inc. focuses on the health and well-being of hikers, a park's history, and the sustainability of a park’s ecosystems. Through their idea, visitors will be able to learn, explore and preserve the natural wonders of the great outdoors through physical activities, educational resources and custom online applications.

"Hikers Inc. creates a solution that motivates individuals to get moving, connect with their local state parks, and impact the park in a positive way by helping to keep it clean," said William McDowell, executive and academic director of Bradley's Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

After catching the eyes of Bradley’s Social Impact Challenge judges, Hikers Inc. is now hoping to pilot the project at Central Illinois’ Starved Rock.

All five of Bradley's undergraduate colleges were represented in the school's challenge. Participating teams each submitted a five-page summary of their idea. The pitched ideas were evaluated on the feasibility, sustainability, potential for success, and social impact they would make. After this screening process, the top five teams were invited to present before an audience. The judges in the room as well as in-person and online viewers then cast their votes for their favorite ideas to select a winner.