WHO CAN ENTER?

This is a student-based, academic challenge. All degree-seeking university students in San Diego, graduate and undergraduate, are encouraged to participate in the San Diego Social Innovation Challenge. Students may enter the Social Innovation Challenge as individuals or as part of a team. 

ELIGIBILITY
University of San Diego Students (USD Track): Must be enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student during the Fall semester of 2015 or the Spring semester of 2016
Students from other universities (San Diego Track): Must be a regular degree-seeking university student enrolled in at least 12 credits per semester (or trimester/quarter equivalent) as an undergraduate or 6 credits per semester (or trimester/quarter equivalent) as a graduate student during at least one of the terms of the 2015-2016 academic school year. Students must be enrolled in an institution physically based in San Diego County.

WHAT KIND OF PROJECTS CAN BE ENTERED?

We’re looking for social innovations. What’s a social innovation? It can be defined as “a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than present solutions and for which the value created accrues primarily to society as a whole rather than private individuals” (Stanford Center for Social Innovation). We’re looking for innovations that can create local or global impacts, and passion and abilities to create impact are as important as the innovation idea.

WHAT KIND OF PRIZE MONEY IS AVAILABLE?

University of San Diego Students (USD Track): Prizes of up to $50,000 cash will be awarded to students in the USD Track. $10,000 of prize money is reserved for the “Women Innovators Track”. This is a track for student teams that have female founders/leaders. The Women Innovators Track is for USD students only. $5,000 of prize money is reserved for the “Mobile Technology Track”. This track is for student teams that present proposals incorporating mobile technology to address a social challenge. This could include mobile apps, platforms, etc. In-kind prizes will also be awarded, which includes things like consulting services, legal advice, access to workspace, etc.

Students from other universities (San Diego Track): Prizes of up to $20,000 cash will be awarded to students in the San Diego Track. $5,000 of prize money is reserved for the “Mobile Technology Track”. This track is for student teams that present proposals incorporating mobile technology to address a social challenge. This could include mobile apps, platforms, etc. In-kind prizes will also be awarded, which includes things like consulting services, legal advice, access to workspace, etc.

HOW DO I ENTER?

Visit www.sandiegosocialinnovation.org. Applications open November 1 and due by February 15, 2016

WHAT ARE THE IMPORTANT DEADLINES AND DATES?

  1. Completed Round 1 entries are due February 15, 2016. For Round 1 all that’s required is answering 6 questions about your idea.
    Register HERE.
  2. USD community judges select semi-finalists by February 26, 2016.
  3. Round 2 semi-finalists submit full written plan and video by March 28, 2016.
  4. USD community judges select finalists by April 8, 2016.
  5. Round 3 finalists pitch their innovations live in front of judges on April 26, 2016.
  6. Finalists give a fast pitch to a live audience and winners are announced at the Awards Ceremony on April 29, 2016!

AT WHAT STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT CAN A PROJECT BE ENTERED?

Social innovations can be entered at any phase of development. You can submit as many project entries as you’d like in any phase. You will be asked to identify the phase you are in according to the following categories:

  • Define: The social innovation is an idea that exists conceptually, but implementation has not yet begun.
  • Design: You are beginning to test the assumptions of your idea with real people (potential beneficiaries or customers). You have developed or are in the process of developing a prototype or model for the social venture. Details are taking shape for where you will pilot your project.
  • Pilot: The innovation has been tested with a small group of customer/beneficiaries and is getting verifiable impacts. Team continues making project improvements based on experience in the field.
  • Scale: The social innovation has demonstrated success at achieving social impact and is growing beyond the initial target group or location. The project has sustainable financial and human resource models with strong leadership and strategic partner support in place.

WHAT IS THE JUDGING CRITERIA?

Round 1: Students are required to answer a series of questions about their idea. The projects will be judged on the clarity of their responses. Round 1 questions are:

  • What is your social innovation? 
  • What are your expected sources of revenue and/or funding? 
  • Who benefits the most from your social innovation?
  • What is your success?
  • How will you get there?

Round 2: Students will be required to submit a detailed project narrative and create a short video. The projects will be judged on demonstration of a high probability of success in the following four areas:

  • Social impact
  • Creativity/innovativeness of the idea
  • Team readiness 
  • Business viability/sustainability (both financial and operational) 

Round 3: Students will be invited to pitch their ideas in front of a life panel of experts from the business, non-profit, and academic sectors. In addition to the criteria from Round 2, judges will also consider the effectiveness of the delivery of the pitch and the overall likelihood of successful implementation.

Students will also be given the opportunity to work with a mentor upon becoming a semi-finalist. 

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE WINNERS?

The Center for Peace and Commerce requires students to spend the entirety of their award funds on developing and implementing their project ideas as described in their final presentation to judges. To track the progress of the projects and funds employed, winners are required to comply with the following:

  1. Work with a mentor approved by the Center for Peace and Commerce
  2. Submit monthly performance updates for one year following receipt of the award
  3. Present their project progress at the November 2016 Idea Lab: Ideas Meet Reality.