Bay Area Foundation Invests in Young Entrepreneurs


Since 2012, the Westly Foundation has awarded cash prizes to promising, young entrepreneurs working for the common good. Co-founders Steve Westly, founder of one of the nation's largest renewable energy venture capital firms, and Anita Yu, tech sector professional, approach the Westly Prize for Young Innovators of California like they do their business ventures: by looking for the next big breakthrough. This year, they partnered with The David and Lucile Packard Foundation to award $30,000 to four innovative changemakers looking to make a meaningful difference.

To qualify, applicants must be under 28 years old and residents of California. Selection criteria are based on having a novel idea that is tackling a significant problem, the ability to demonstrate traction, and the potential to scale. This year's winners are:

    • Kana Hammon of YCore: an online resource connecting millennials with social causes
    • Kevin Madrigal of Farming Hope: disrupting the soup kitchen model by employing the homeless in community gardens and kitchens
    • Kartik Sawhney of offers mentorship and resources to people with disabilities who have an interest in tech
    • Miranda Wang of BioCellection: a new thermochemical process that turns 92% of recyclable plastic waste into sustainable materials