Social Impact Award

IdeaFunding & Get Started Tucson (Oct. 27, 2016)

This October marked the 20th anniversary of IdeaFunding in Tucson, an annual event that brings together the best of the southwestern startup ecosystem for a full day of panels, discussions, speakers and networking around best practices and key lessons to launch a company.

The event concludes with Cox Businesses’ esteemed and national pitch event, Get Started. Get Started Tucson was the IdeaFunding grand finale, culminating with eight finalists pitching their ideas to an esteemed panel of Judges. The top prize took home $25,000 and the winner of the United Way Social Impact Prize took home $5,000.


Social Impact Award

New to Get Started and Idea Funding this year was the Social Impact Award prize of $5,000 sponsored by United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona (UWTSA). The criteria for the Social Impact Award is the idea that best encompass UWTSA’s mission statement, Building a better community by uniting people, ideas and resources.

“Innovation and new ways of thinking are vital to building a better community,” stated Tony Penn, President and CEO of United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona. “What better way to ignite change than to show our commitment to the entrepreneurs looking to make a real social impact with fresh, new ideas.”



Winner of the 1st Annual Social Impact Award!

United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona presented its first ever $5,000 Social Impact Prize to GraphLock, a patent-pending and affordable calculator app created to support equality in math education.

The app turns a student's smartphone, tablet or laptop into a fully functioning scientific and graphing calculator, eliminating the need for students to buy the expensive calculators required in high school and college math classes. Mallory Dyer, the founder and CEO of GraphLock and a math professor at Central Arizona College, accepted the prize at the TENWEST Festival in October.

"As a math professor, I witnessed many of my students could not afford the required calculator, and I couldn't stand seeing them struggle, drop and fail the class,” Dyer said. “This created inequality in my classroom.”

The app includes a lockdown mode that prevents students from accessing other phone functions (internet, texting, etc.) and that teachers can start and stop during class or exams. GraphLock has launched a crowdfunding campaign through IndieGoGo. Donors can either pre-order the app for $5 or donate $5 to fund a free download for a low-income student or school.

For more information about GraphLock, visit