Participant Information


Important Dates

Monday May 6, 2019   Registration Opens
Monday, October 28, 2019
9:00 a.m. EST
  Deadline for submission of materials
Tuesday, November 12, 2019   Announcement of finalists (eight per track)
November 18 - November 20, 2019   Presentation coaching available for finalists
Thursday, November 21, 2019   SVIC Final Round, Keynote Address & Social Innovator of the Year Award


Entries in both tracks must meet the criteria of a "Social Venture."

Entries can be for a new (pre-launch stage) initiative, an existing social venture in the formative stages of development (i.e. less than one year old), or a major new social entrepreneurial initiative for an established venture.

  • Present an innovative solution to a defined problem (such as poverty and climate change) facing the state of New Hampshire, region, nation, or world.
  • Social ventures aim to be market-based and aspire to be as fully financially self-sustaining as possible through earned revenues and profits, decreasing the reliance on grants or donations.
  • Social ventures harness the best of market-based approaches, but have a primarily social, rather than financial, objective.

The Social Venture Innovation Challenge is designed to be an “innovation accelerator” and to encourage participants to develop original, innovative proposals (versus detailed business plans) in the form of a three-minute video and two-page paper.

Entry Guidelines and Format

  • Participants must first register to compete using our online registration system. This is an “intent to compete only.” It does not obligate you in any way to submit an entry, and will allow you to receive important updates, invitations to participant-only Pathway to the Challenge events and helpful resources to guide your entry.

  • Participants must prepare two components as part of their entry and upload these as their submission:

    • A video of a strict maximum of three minutes adhering to these technical specifications:
      • .mov or .mp4 file
      • No larger than 1GB
      • Challenge entrants in both tracks are encouraged to contact UNH’s Parker Media Lab (PML) with questions about video formatting. PML is located in the Dimond Library on UNH’s Durham Campus. It is staffed and open Sunday-Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Fridays 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. You can contact them for advice by phone at (603) 862-1747 to speak with any of the staff team, or by email to reach PML’s manager,
    • An accompanying brief written summary "pitching" your concept for a social venture
      • Strict maximum of two pages (PDF, 12 pt. font, margins 1 inch or more)

Guidelines on Content

The Social Venture Innovation Challenge is designed to be an "innovation accelerator" and to encourage participants to develop original, innovative proposals to address the social and environmental issues facing the state of New Hampshire and beyond through a market-based approach.

Submissions will be judged partially on the viability of the initial proposal; that is, fully developed business plans are not to be submitted and are not within the scope of the competition. See Judging Criteria section for detailed criteria.


Your team's video should be the primary tool for summarizing the nature and scale of the problem you want to address and for "selling" the innovativeness and effectiveness of your social venture solution.

It should highlight the following key areas:

  1. The social and/or environmental problem to be addressed and the opportunity
  2. Your proposed social venture solution
  • NOTE: Please see the Additional Resources section for helpful links from UNH’s Parker Media Lab on video production.
  • Public domain videos, photos or other content can be included in your three-minute video. Written permission is required for all copyrighted and protected source materials.

Written Summary

Your two-page written summary will be the other key component of your entry and will be reviewed by judges in both rounds of the competition. This document gives you the chance to expand a little more on some of the important components and key concepts found in your three-minute video.

The two-page summary should address the following key areas, as appropriate to your idea:

The Problem:

  • What specific social (or environmental) problem does your innovation address?
  • Why is this social problem important and who benefits from addressing it?
  • What is the scale of the problem?
  • Is the problem localized or is it of national and/or global importance?
  • What is/are the root cause(s) of the problem?
  • Are there additional contributing factors to the problem?
  • Are current solutions to the problem offered?
  • Are they effective?
  • Why or why not?
  • Are any of them market-based?

Your Social Venture Innovation:

  • As briefly as possible, what is your vision?
  • What change do you ultimately want to create in the world?
  • Why do you believe a market-driven solution will be most effective at addressing the problem?
  • How will you achieve your vision through your social venture? (In non-technical terms, briefly describe the strategic approach of your social venture innovation.)
  • How will you bring your social innovation to the intended market?
  • How will your social venture be financially self-sustaining within a reasonable time period?
  • What is the geographic area and size in terms of number of people served by your social innovation?
  • What is your social venture "value" proposition, that is, what are the recognized benefits the social innovation brings to the market?
  • Why is your solution innovative?
  • Why is your solution more effective than existing solutions aimed at addressing your identified problem?
  • How do you know that your social innovation is actually addressing the root cause(s) of the problem, and not just a symptom?
  • How will your solution create the intended impact?
  • How long will it take for your social innovation to have a lasting and meaningful impact on addressing the problem and at what cost? (Note: Social innovations that are closer to being implemented and at a lower cost in addressing the problem will be judged more highly than those that require significantly more time to bring to market and at a higher cost.)

NOTE: Please see the Additional Resources section for helpful links, including examples of noteworthy social ventures.


In order to enter and compete in the Social Venture Innovation Challenge, teams must agree to the following:

  • Complete the online registration form.

  • Submit all entry materials by Monday, October 28, 2019, 9:00 a.m. EST.
  • If selected for advancement from the Preliminary Round, teams must commit to participate in the Final Round on Thursday, November 21, 2019 on the UNH Durham campus
  • Certify that you own, or have the owner's permission to use/present, all intellectual property utilized in your entry materials, including any technology.
  • Agree to allow all submission materials, team members' names, description of your entry, photos of your team and video footage of your presentation from the Final Rounds to be used on the Social Venture Innovation Challenge website and in future publicity, including social media.

  • Agree to abide by UNH/USNH IT and Acceptable Use Policies.
  • For winners, the cash prize amount will be divided equally to each team member listed on your registration form, unless written permission is provided by each team member for an alternative distribution of funds.