Free Enterprise Staff  | May 18, 2015

Challenge Cup: And Then There Was One


After six months of competition spread across 16 cities and 11 countries, this year’s Challenge Cup overall champion has emerged in the form of Twiga Fruits, a startup helping solve rising food prices across Africa.

Along with the notoriety that comes with the Challenge Cup champion crown, Twiga Fruits will also receive $150,000 from 1776, the Washington, D.C.-based seed fund and incubator that organizes the event. Judges also selected three additional global winners from the Challenge Cup’s nine finalists: Cognotion, Radiator Labs, and ReliefWatch. Here’s how 1776 breaks down what they do.

Cognotion — Cognotion identifies talent, delivers functional utilization of knowledge, and decreases employee churn rate using gaming and video tools designed for entry-level millennials. They use emotion and context to teach hard and soft skills to entry level employees. New York, New York

Radiator Labs — Radiator Labs takes old, wasteful buildings and, via a unique patent-pending product offering, improves their heating efficiencies up to LEED standard levels. Brooklyn, New York

ReliefWatch — ReliefWatch is an inventory management platform targeted at multinational non-governmental organizations operating health clinics in developing countries. Chicago, Illinois

Want to learn more about this year’s Challenge Festival? You can find more information here. Be sure to also check out this editorial by U.S. Chamber of Commerce president and C.E.O. Tom Donohue that breaks down why events like the Challenge Cup are so important.


This year’s Challenge Festival also included the release of the Innovation That Matters Report, which sought to answer a seemingly simple question: What more can be done to harness the power of startups to help solve the biggest needs of our global society? According to the report’s findings, there’s a lot.

Co-developed by 1776, the report’s authors partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its affiliates to learn more about the state of entrepreneurship in eight U.S. cities: Austin, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

Drawing on firsthand interactions with city business leaders as well as a large swath of economic data, the report paints an interesting picture about the state of U.S. entrepreneurship, highlighting what cities are doing right and areas where they can improve. If you’re interested in what the report has to say but you don’t have time right now to read it in its entirety—it does, after all, clock in at 120 pages—you can pick and choose what’s key for you in this interactive design format. then check out this breakdown of some of its major findings here.

Find all of our coverage of this year’s Challenge Cup here.