FUNDING: Dell Social Innovation Competition

Posted on 19 January 2009. Filed under: Announcements, Awards & Honors, Call for Nominations or Applications, Funding, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Dell Social Innovation Competition

[Note to We Can Do readers: Although this funding competition is not targeted at disability issues per se, it is my hope that We Can Do readers, including people with disabilities, will read the eligibility criteria carefully and consider creative ideas for projects that would actively benefit the disability community in your country. Note that in the United States, “college” refers to a four-year university undergraduate program, NOT to secondary school. So this competition is targeted at university students.]

RGK Center at University of Texas at Austin invites undergraduate and graduate level students from any 4-year university or college in the world to enter by March 2, 2009. (Note that the deadline has been exended from February 20, 2009.) Winner will be awarded $50,000 to launch their venture.

Enter your innovative idea in the 2009 Social Innovation Competition and change the world!

Dream up a plan that combines creativity and innovation to tackle a pressing social issue. Then enter your idea online.

Students from all disciplines are challenged to unleash their energy, idealism and public-spirited thinking to affect change in areas of critical human need. The RGK Center is searching for student social entrepreneurs to develop compelling and innovative plans for new initiatives that will contribute to the public good.

The competition has three stages. We invite college students from around the globe to enter the competition online by briefly stating their innovation. From all entries, a small group is selected as semifinalists and invited to develop a detailed venture plan. Three finalists present their plans to a selection committee comprised of leaders from the business, nonprofit and government sectors. At the final event, held at the University of Texas at Austin, a single winner is chosen and awarded $50,000 to launch their venture.

The Dell Social Innovation Competition takes place in three elimination rounds.

1. Idea Submission: Students studying at universities around the globe are encouraged to submit a brief outline of their social innovation through the competition online form. The ideas are evaluated by the RGK Center and a select group of semifinalists move to the next stage of competition. Submit your idea online by March 2, 2009.

2. Social Venture Plan & Video: Semifinalists are invited to create a social venture plan and 3-minute video detailing their innovation. The social venture plans are judged by luminaries of academia, business, government and the nonprofit sector.

Venture Plan & Video Guidelines
3. Final Presentations & Awards: Three teams are invited to the University of Texas at Austin to pitch their ideas live in front of a panel of expert judges. The judges deliberate and immediately award the grand prize. The RGK Center covers travel expenses for two members of each of the finalist teams to visit Austin for the event.

Final Presentation Guidelines

New this year! The Tomberg Prize in Environmental Sustainability
2009 Dell Social Innovation Competition entries addressing the environment are eligible to win a special $10,000 prize! The Tomberg Family Philanthropies hope to encourage the development of effective and practical solutions to the environmental challenges that face the world today. Contestants will be notified of their eligibility to win the Tomberg Prize when the names of the semifinalists are announced. The Tomberg Prize will be awarded at the final event.

Please review the Confidentiality and Intellectual Property Guidelines.

Competition is open to: Undergraduate and graduate level students from any 4-year university or college in the world are eligible to enter. Proof of enrollment will be requested of all semifinalist and finalist contestants. See all eligibility rules.

All teams are expected to abide by the specific rules enumerated below. The RGK Center reserves the right to disqualify any team that violates the rules, regulations or the spirit of the competition. Eligibility is subject to individual review for special circumstances.

Social Venture and Team Eligibility Rules
To qualify for the Dell Social Innovation Competition, contestants and the proposed venture must meet the following criteria:
Team Eligibility

* Undergraduate and graduate level students from any 4-year university or college in the world are eligible to enter. Proof of enrollment will be requested of all semifinalist and finalist contestants.

* The individual or team must be comprised of students currently attending university. Students graduating in December of 2008 are eligible to enter.

* Contestants must be actively involved in the venture.

* Team size is not restricted. Teams can seek advice from mentors or outside experts, but the venture must be entirely student-led.

* All team members listed on the final venture plan will be considered full team members with equal share of the venture, unless otherwise stipulated in the venture plan.

* Teams that have previously reached the final presentation round of the Social Innovation Competition may not re-enter this year’s competition with the same venture.

* Team members competing must be principle owners of the venture.

Social Venture Eligibility
* The venture should exist primarily to address a significant social problem.

* The mission and practices of the venture must incorporate a quantifiable social return.

* Whether it is a for-profit business or a nonprofit organization, the venture must be financially viable.

* The venture must be scalable and take into account the
potential for growth of the endeavor.

* If the venture is already in existence, it must not have been in operation for more than three years. The start of the venture is marked by first income received. Student projects entered on behalf of a business or nonprofit are not eligible.

* The proposed venture may not be a wholly owned subsidiary of an existing for profit or nonprofit entity.

* A venture plan cannot be re-entered in the competition beyond two consecutive years.

* All plans must be written in English.

Read more about the eligibility rules at

I received this announcement via the Intl-Dev email news distribution list. All interested parties should please consult the official web site for the Dell Social Innovation Competition at for further details and instructions.

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