Idea for After School Gaming Club
Wins Social Venture Contest

Professor Cameron Ford (from left), founding Director, UCF Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership; Jose Soto, Community Specialist with event sponsor State Farm Insurance; competition judges Stephanie Krick, Director, Nonprofit Leadership Alliance; and Jim Balaschak, ’86 & ’92, retired Deloitte Principal; winner James Kozachuk and judge Joshua Snyder, Director, Business Development, PowerDMS.

Professor Cameron Ford (from left), founding Director, UCF Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership; Jose Soto, Community Specialist with event sponsor State Farm Insurance; competition judges Stephanie Krick, Director, Nonprofit Leadership Alliance; and Jim Balaschak, ’86 & ’92, retired Deloitte Principal; winner James Kozachuk and judge Joshua Snyder, Director, Business Development, PowerDMS.

Competition Focuses on Solving Society’s Biggest Problems

Teachers want to connect with students, but many high school students just want to play video games with their friends. University of Central Florida graduate student and James Kozachuk is working to provide a competitive outlet and an engaged community for those gamers while encouraging academic achievement.

Kozachuk developed the concept for EsportsEDU, an after school club program that promotes fellowship and friendly competition among gamers. That idea recently earned Kozachuk a first-place finish—and a $2,000 scholarship—in the first Social Venture Competition.

“Over the past two years, I’ve been working with researchers from the UCF Psychology department to study gaming communities in high schools,” said Kozachuk, who graduated with a degree in Psychology in the spring. “We had seen positive benefits of organized after school clubs. This venture acts on that research done here at UCF.”

The Social Venture Competition, which made its debut as part of the UCF Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership’s Starter Riot Week, recognizes students who have developed solutions and plans that may impact society’s biggest problems, such as poverty, education, health care, human rights and the environment. State Farm Insurance sponsored the new competition. Starter Riot Week welcomes students from across UCF to meet fellow entrepreneurs and learn about free entrepreneurial resources available on campus and in the community.

“This was our first Social Venture Competition and we couldn’t be more pleased with the response from students and the energy of our participants,” said Professor Cameron Ford, founding Director, UCF Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. “We’re excited about growing this into a significant CEL tradition that engages students across our campus.”

Rounding out the competition were Bella Comodita (Mayken Giraldo), which took second place, while Spam 4 Heals (Christopher Washburn) was third. Hearts for the Homeless – (Andrew Aboujaoude, Alexis Ghersi, Jaime Hawat, Jennifer Carvel, Amanda Aboujaoude) placed fourth, and Raya34 Sports Inc. (Soraya Toppin-Herbert) earned an honorable mention.

For more information about the Social Venture Competition, visit