Registration Open for UNH Social Venture Innovation Challenge


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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

DURHAM, N.H. – Registration is now open for the 2017 New Hampshire Social Venture Innovation Challenge (SVIC) at the University of New Hampshire. The competition showcases the idealism and ingenuity of students and entrepreneurs across New Hampshire, with ideas spanning a wide range of issue areas from poverty to climate change. Submissions are due Monday, Nov. 13, 2017, by 10 a.m.

There are two tracks – one for community members (New Hampshire residents and any UNH alumni regardless of location) and another for students in any college or university in the state. Submissions can be by individuals or teams. Full details on registration, deadlines and eligibility can be found at http://www.unh.edu/svic. Eight teams in each track will be selected to advance to the final round, which will take place Tuesday, Dec. 5.

In its 5th year, the program anticipates cumulative participation since inception of more than 375 teams representing more than 1,000 individual contestants. The SVIC also engages community members as judges and mentors; more than 300 since 2013.

While a student at UNH, Alex Freid, winner of the student track in 2013, created the first self-sustaining student-run venture focused on diverting from landfills the thousands of tons of usable furniture and equipment discarded by students at the end of the school year. In four years, he has built a nonprofit organization that employs seven people, and has scaled to replicate his model to more than 120 college campuses around the country.

The SVIC asks contestants to design innovative, sustainable, business-orientated solutions in response to some of society’s most pressing social and environmental challenges. Designed to be an “innovation accelerator,” the SVIC is an idea competition where big ideas are rewarded. No detailed plans required, but rather proposals in the form of a three-minute video and two-page paper. 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.

Challenge winners receive awards that are intended to provide investment to a social venture to help fund its establishment and/or growth. These awards are made possible by lead sponsors Kennebunk Savings Bank, The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation (whose support funds, in part, the Community Track,) Pierce Atwood, and Timberland, as well as AlphaLoft, CCA Global, Monadnock Paper, New Hampshire Business Review, New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility, Normandeau Associates, Inc., PixelMEDIA, and Revision Energy.

Cash prizes for the community track are: first prize, $10,000; second, $5,000; third, $2,500. Additional in-kind prizes are also available for winners of the community track. Cash prizes for the student track are: first prize, $5,000; second, $3,000; third, $2,000.

The SVIC is organized by UNH’s Center for Social Innovation & Enterprise, and is also co-hosted by Paul College of Business & Economics, Carsey School of Public Policy, UNH Sustainability Institute, UNHInnovation, and Net Impact UNH.

The Center for Social Innovation & Enterprise is a joint venture between the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics and the Carsey School of Public Policy offering high-impact experiences for UNH students to apply their academic learning in real world settings.

The University of New Hampshire is a flagship research university that inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top ranked programs in business, engineering, law, liberal arts and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. UNH’s research portfolio includes partnerships with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, receiving more than $100 million in competitive external funding every year to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space.