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The Center for Peace and Commerce

Innovators DNA

do you have it in you?

Meet the 2016 SIC Winners

What is the Social Innovation Challenge?

The Social Innovation Challenge (SIC) is a student social venture contest organized by the Center for Peace and Commerce at the University of San Diego. Through the SIC, university students in San Diego generate ideas for innovative ventures that respond to a social, economic, environmental, or justice issue of their choice, and compete for seed funding to launch or expand their ventures. Social ventures may be for-profit, non-profit, or hybrid models with a domestic or international focus. The 2017 SIC will distribute $40,00 in award money and other in-kind prizes for social innovation.

View the 2016 SIC Winners Showcase

How to Participate



All degree-seeking university students in San Diego, undergraduate and graduate, are encouraged to participate in the San Diego Social Innovation Challenge.

You may enter as an individual, or recruit or joing others to form a team. Read the Terms & Conditions for contest rules. For more details please visit the Frequently asked Questions as well. 

Idea Labs

Idea Labs

Attend the Idea Labs workshop series to learn from real-world social entrepreneurs about how to create a successful social venture. Connect with others to form teams and get feedback and coaching.

Fall 2016 Idea Labs are not required for entrance in the SIC; however, semi-finalists and finalists are expected to attend Idea Labs in Spring 2017. Idea Labs provide valuable guidance and information to strengthen your submission.



The Center for Peace and Commerce offers many resources to help you turn your idea into a reality.

Visit the CPC Resource page for additional Social Entrepreneurship tools and resources.

Contact the Center for Peace and Commerce for a consultation or to connect with our network of coaches and mentors.

Take The Challenge!

Important Submission Dates

Feb 20
Round 1

Answer six questions about your social innovation. Enter a project at any stage.
View Round 1 Questions

Apr 04
Round 2

Semi-finalists submit a detailed project proposal and create a pitch video.

May 03
Round 3

Finalists give a 6-minute pitch to of a panel of live judges.

May 05
Award Ceremony

Finalists deliver a 90-second fast pitch in front of a live audience and winners are announced.

Our Sponsors

People are Talking

"I love that the connections we made at USD Social Innovation Challenge have extended beyond the program. Furthermore, we’ve created relationships with competing teams that have become supportive alliances."

Sneha Jayaprakash and Winnie Xu, 2015 SIC winners

“I wanted to say thank you again for all of your help and support throughout the Social Innovation Challenge. This was an amazing opportunity and I learned a lot. It helped me solidify what I want to pursue in a career, helped me understand how to pitch an idea, and pushed me to become a better public speaker."

Parul Agarwal, 2015 SIC Finalist

"The learning experience was so rich. The Challenge helps teach innovation and entrepreneurship in a condensed way. It's better than taking a class." 

Cris Bravo, 2015 SIC Finalist

Join Our Community



Mentors work one-on-one with student semi-finalists and finalists to help them impove their project proposals, and with winners during the implementation process.Mentors are matched with students teams based on areas of expertise, and meet in-person meeting with the team during the semi-finals and final rounds (March-April 2017).  If the team they mentor receives an award, mentors will need to commit to being available for periodic student mentoring (1-2 times per month) from May-November 2017. 



Coaches work directly with student teams at Idea Labs during the 2016-2017 academic year. Idea Labs are a workshop series designed to catalyze student-driven innovation. Within the Idea Labs coaches help guide aspiring student entrepreneurs by providing advice, knowledge, and direct feedback to the students.If you are interested in being a coach or mentor please click on the link below and select "Become a Mentor" and contact us at the Center for Peace and Commerce. 



In rounds one and two of the Social Innovation Challenge student projects are reviewed online by our community of qualified judges. Judges evaluate student projects and provide written feedback to student teams. Judges include experts from business, social sector, and academia with experience in social innovation and entrepreneurship. If you are interested in being considered to become judge please click on the link below and select "Become a Judge" and contact us at the Center for Peace and Commerce. 



SIC Student Ambassador Program is an initative to bridge potential applicants of the SIC with the Social Innovation Challenge. These Ambassadors will remain as faces of the SIC, helping the Center of Peace and Commerce promote, encourage and motivate students to bring thier ideas to reality.

Community Partners


Zahn Innovation Platform
San Diego State University


In the News

Social Innovation Challenge Delivers the Good

The Social Innovation Challenge (SIC), hosted by the University of San Diego's Center for Peace and Commerce (CPC), is a social entrepreneurial opportunity mainstay.

Innovation Week Celebrates Student Entrepreneurship

The University of San Diego leads the Cali-Baja region in catalyzing student entrepreneurship with its inaugural Innovation Week, April 25 to 29.

USD Competitions to Reward Changemaking, Innovation, Entrepreneurship

Innovation and entrepreneurship is alive and growing each year at the University of San Diego. Already designated as an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus five years ago, a prime example of USD’s showcase of this can be found through a few key events on its academic calendar at the end of April.

New Tracks for Mobile Technology & Women Innovators

New tracks for mobile technology and women innovators have been added to the Sixth Annual Social Innovation Challenge at the University of San Diego.


Stay in Touch

Center for Peace and Commerce
University of San Diego
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110


Amit Kakkad


Rachel Christensen

Assistant Director

Full Name