The CPC presents the 2016 SIC

Registration opens November 1

two schools
two disciplines
one world
infinite possibilities

The Center for Peace and Commerce

Innovators DNA

do you have it in you?

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. We also have two specialization tracks dedicated to promote Technology and Women Entrepreneurs. 

The Mobile tech Track: Sponsored by Qualcomm Wireless Reach and Qualcomm Ventures is centered around projects dedicated towards creating solutions using mobile and wireless technology.

The Women Innovators Track: Centered around projects that are founded and led by female students at USD.

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. Projects at all stages are welcome. 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.

Idea Labs 1-4 are not required for entrance in the SIC; however, semi-finalists and finalists are expected to attend Idea Lab 5-7. 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 15
Round 1

Answer six questions about your social innovation. Enter a project at any stage.

Mar 28
Round 2

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

Apr 26
Round 3

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

Apr 29
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

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 2016).  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 2016. 



Coaches work directly with student teams at Idea Labs during the 2015-2016 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.

In the News

Become a Changemaker

“This is the place where students can come to experiment, learn and have a direct impact on the future. This is the place for innovation.”

DNA of an Innovator: Creativity, Vision and Practicality

What does it take to be an innovator? Creativity, vision, and practicality, according to Parker Cohn.

Knowledgeable Night of Entrepreneurship

“Knowledge is an ever-growing process,” he stated. “There’s no one right path. You never stop learning.”

Creating a World in Which Everyone is a SmartyPants

Do you believe one pair of pants can change the world? Recent University of San Diego School of Business Administration alumna Brittany Becker BA ’15 does.


Stay in Touch

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


Grace Michel
Assistant Director

Hudo Ahmed
Graduate Assistant

Sudeeptha Jothiprakash
Graduate Assistant

Full Name