Walton Sustainability Solutions Festival awards local start-up ventures

December 13, 2013

Three local start-up ventures based with Phoenix’s social impact startup incubator SEED SPOT were awarded $6,000 in funding from the Walton Sustainability Solutions Festival at SEED SPOT’s second Demo Day.

Innovative HITECH Healthcare Solutions ($3,000), Guardian NPX ($2,000) and Box Play for Kids ($1,000) were identified and honored as the three companies that best developed solutions to sustainability challenges. The Sustainability Solutions Festival, a program at ASU’s Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives in the Global Institute of Sustainability, encourages, rewards and celebrates inventors, entrepreneurs, designers and creative thinkers who develop solutions to sustainability challenges. Patricia Reiter, director of the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, co Download Full Image

“We are very excited to make these modest awards to these three inspirational, blossoming ventures,” said Patricia Reiter, director of the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives. “Each of these companies creatively address environmental, social and economic challenges through their products and their business plans.”

The seventeen ventures that make up the incubator’s fall cohort each had three minutes to pitch their ideas to a capacity audience at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Phoenix. Each participating venture is required to address some aspect of social impact as part of its business plan.

"Our partnership with ASU and the Sustainability Solutions Festival enables these ventures to have access to expertise and networks that will provide better connections with the broader community and enhance their impact in the world," said Courtney Klein, co-founder and CEO of SEED SPOT.

Innovative HITECH Healthcare Solutions is developing communication and notification tools and apps to securely connect health care providers to patients through more direct and efficient channels. Its mobile device-based CARES app allows providers to create a real-time connection, improving the potential for higher patient understanding, follow up, compliance and satisfaction.

Guardian NPX identified head lice as a primary source for more than 12 million children to be removed from school for up to weeks at a time, so they have developed an all-natural, FDA-approved treatment that removes lice and nits to get the student back in class within a day. Guardian NPX has integrated a one-to-one program where the company donates a bottle of their treatment for every bottle purchased.

Box Play for Kids was inspired by the company’s daughter, who preferred to play more with stickers and boxes than the toys they contained. Hence the eco-friendly, 100 percent recycled stickers that turn cartons, tubes and boxes into new toys that stimulate curiosity, enthusiasm and learning in kids.

Each of these startups will be featured through the Sustainability Solutions Festival week, Feb. 17-22, at venues throughout Tempe and Phoenix. This inaugural festival features a variety of events for everyone – from young students, to scholars, to leaders of industry – in a vibrant showcase for and about sustainability solutions. Festival partners include the GreenBiz Forum, the Sustainability Consortium, Arizona Science Center, the Arizona Solar Summit and the Arizona SciTech Festival.

SEED SPOT is now accepting applications for entrepreneurs interested in joining the Spring 2014 SEED SPOT cohort. Application deadline is Jan. 24.

Jason Franz

Senior manager, Marketing and Communications, Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives


Grad sees cultural traditions as path to crime prevention

December 14, 2013

Cheryl Lynn Blie of the Diné/Navajo tribe has a burning desire to help her community by alleviating some of its modern ills.

“I grew up in Pinon, Arizona, one of the most economically impoverished places on the Navajo Nation,” she says. As a child she was taught the need for discipline and the duty to care for others. “We are instilled with a strong sense to educate yourself so you can give back to the community and your people someday,” she says.  Cheryl Lynn Blie Download Full Image

Yet she saw a rise in violence in Native American communities that began to replicate urban inner city streets. Youths sometimes succumbed to peer pressure, gang life and drugs. “I wanted to understand specifically about prevention and intervention strategies, and what direction we should go using the data and resources obtained thus far.”

With her master’s degree in criminal justice from the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice in the ASU College of Public Programs, she hopes to help chart a new path for her community.

“The Native American people are very culturally and traditionally rich in our way of life, therefore, we have the necessary tools to live in a harmonious way,” she says. Blie is researching intervention methods that emphasize traditional ties and cultural teachings, as well as other crime prevention strategies.  

After receiving her undergraduate degree in political science from Northern Arizona University, she decided to join the criminal justice program at ASU. 

“From the very first day I met the department chair to working with the amazingly supportive faculty, I could not be any happier with the choice I made,” she says. 

As a single parent working full-time throughout the program, she mastered time management skills from the beginning. “Communication with the faculty, staff and advisors has been key,” she says, in resolving schedule conflicts, meeting all deadlines and requirements for school and maintaining a high GPA. 

Encouragement and support has been essential to her success as a first-generation graduate with a master’s degree. Blie credits her Native American grandparents, parents and daughter, as well as friends nationwide.

“I was raised with the values that as a Diné/Navajo woman, I am to educate myself and become aware of the issues that affect my people so I can have a stronger voice when seated at any table, so we can speak with courage, accuracy and conviction.”

“I have also been honored to be part of ASU Alpha Phi Sigma Criminal Justice Honors Society. This program has opened many doors for me. Along with the motivation to maintain a high GPA, I have been able to meet with possible employers and seek future opportunities, and provide volunteer service here in the Phoenix area and on the Navajo Nation.”

After graduation, she plans to continue work with Native American communities, possibly as a federal agent or criminal investigator. 

“I am very passionate about the research I have devoted myself to, primarily because it affects my people and the future of my people.”

Editor Associate, University Provost