The Social Venture Innovation Challenge (SVIC) is an idea-stage competition with the goal of inspiring a large and diverse group of students and community members to develop innovative, solution-orientated thinking and providing a forum to shine a light on these ideas. The SVIC engages aspiring and practicing student and community social entrepreneurs in designing novel, sustainable, business-orientated solutions to some of society’s most pressing social and environmental challenges. SVIC winners receive awards that help bring needed resources to advance these promising models.
The New Hampshire Social Venture Innovation Challenge was founded by the University of New Hampshire in 2013 in partnership with Nobel Peace Prize winner, and father of the microfinance movement, Muhammad Yunus, who was also the inaugural keynote speaker, attracting over 700 people. It has become an annual signature event which powerfully demonstrates the keen interest of students and community entrepreneurs and activists in helping address some of society’s most pressing social and environmental challenges, and their creativity in designing novel, sustainable, business-orientated solutions.
Last year’s event again showcased the idealism and ingenuity of students and community change agents, with over 90 entries from across the state of New Hampshire. In the student track, team members represented more than 25 different majors, suggesting that students from a variety of disciplines are interested in how entrepreneurial tools can be a force for good. Learn more about past winners here.
The Social Venture Innovation Challenge was designed to be different from other traditional business plan competitions. Rather than full business plans, the Challenge is interested in unlocking and jumpstarting innovative thinking among students and community members who want to “make a difference.” The Social Venture Innovation Challenge is designed to complement the annual Holloway Prize Innovation-to-Market Competition which takes place at UNH each spring. Students are eligible and are encouraged to enter both competitions, with the Holloway prize providing an excellent follow-up to the Social Venture Innovation Challenge, helping students develop their social venture ideas further.