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Socially Responsible / Sustainable Business Plan Competitions and Fellowships


There are many more business plan competitions than what you see below -- we're trying to keep our list to competitions with a CSR / Sustainable focus or track. To submit a new competition, or to update information on your competition, please contact ian.fisk@williamjamesfoundation.org. Please note -- we encourage social and environmental entrepreneurs to enter mainstream business plan competitions as well. But there are far too many of those for us to try and keep a comprehensive list.


Competition Website Deadline Entry Requirements and Prizes
Investor's Circle  http://investorscircle.net/our-funding-process Ongoing Investors' Circle seeks early-stage companies whose businesses address significant social or environmental issues.
MIT IDEAS Competition globalchallenge.mit.edu/challenges Ongoing Various prizes for various challenges.
SVN Innovation Awards www.svn.org/awards Spring 2013 For-Profit or Non-Profit in operation for more than six months but less than seven years. Award winners will receive SVN membership for a year and conference registration for the Fall 2013 Conference.
BiD Network www.bidnetwork.org/en/competitions Varies by partner For emerging market entrepreneurs.
The Intel+UC Berkeley Technology Entrepreneurship Challenge www.entrepreneurshipchallenge.org/ Varies by partner The Intel®+UC Berkeley Technology Entrepreneurship Challenge is where the best engineers and scientists present how they plan to make the world a better place through their innovations and entrepreneurial skills.
Buckminster Fuller Challenge www.bfi.org/programs/challenge April 2013 The Buckminster Fuller Challenge is an annual international design Challenge awarding $100,000 to support the development and implementation of a strategy that has significant potential to solve humanity's most pressing problems.
Harvard Social Enterprise Club Pitch for Change Competition socialenterpriseconference.org/2012pitch-for-change/ December 1, 2013 At least one team member must be a current graduate student. Cash prizes totaling $7,000. First Place: $6,000 + 3 consulting hours, Second Place: $4,000 + 2 consulting hours, Third Place: $2,000 + 1 consulting hour, Audience Choice: $500
Wake Forest Competition for Social Entrepreneurship business.wfu.edu/default.aspx?id=938 2012 Applications closed 01/20/2012 Each team may have up to four participants, with at least one participant who must be a degree-seeking student currently enrolled in a college or university. Participants can be graduate or undergraduate students in any discipline
Tulane Conscious Capitalism Business Plan Competition http://tea.tulane.edu/the-competition.php
 
2013 Applicaitons closed 01/01/2013 Open to students. All business ventures must be seeking outside equity capital. Cash prizes totaling $50,000.
Tufts Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition tinyurl.com/tufts-competition 2013 Applications closed 02/22/2013 One member of each team must be a Tufts student. $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.
Pepperdine Socially Minded Entrepreneur Award bschool.pepperdine.edu/bplan/

2013 Applications closed 02/01/2013

A $1,000 prize will be awarded to the team whose plan best embodies the theme of social responsibility in business
Saïd Global Entrepreneur Challenge tinyurl.com/SaidGlobal 2012 Applications closed 01/30/2012 Promotes the creation of sustainable new business ventures that combine financial returns with social and environmental benefits. Must be a for-profit venture. Prize fund of approximately £65,000.Entries are accepted from individuals, teams, new companies, existing companies creating spin-offs, students, scientists, academics and entrepreneurs. Regional, national and international participation is encouraged.
Brigham Young University Social Venture Competition socialventure.byu.edu 2012 Applications closed 02/10/2012 Applicants must be currently enrolled at Brigham Young (Provo, Hawaii, or Idaho). $50,000 in cash & prizes.
Tulane NewDay Challenge tulane.edu/socialentrepreneurship/newday.cfm 2013 Applications closed 04/03/2013 The NewDay Challenge awards up to $20,000 in seed funding to Tulane students dedicated to finding innovative, sustainable solutions to social challenges. Applicants can be any student-created, student-led organization, program, or venture that benefits the New Orleans community. 
Clean Tech Open www.cleantechopen.com 2014 Applications not yet open  Top prize is $250,000. Other prizes available.
NYU-Stern Social Impact Business Challenge tinyurl.com/NYUsibc 2013 Applications closed 10/17/2012 The winning team will receive up to $20,000. Teams of up to five full-time undergraduate NYU students, including at least one member from the Stern School of Business, can participate.
Agora Partnerships Accelerator Program agorapartnerships.org/accelerator-2/ 2014 Applications not yet posted  Agora’s Accelerator finds the best, early stage impact entrepreneurs in Central American and Mexico and works to help them grow their businesses and maximize their positive impact on the world.
William James Foundation Sustainable Business Plan Competition www.williamjamesfoundation.org/ 2014 Applications close 11/2013 Business must be a for-profit start-up with a defined social and/or environmental goal. Primary "prize" is average of 20 pages of feedback per plan per round. Also, cash and in-kind prizes together worth over $100,000
McCloskey Business Plan Competition: Klau Prize bit.ly/fin8lJ 2014 Applications not yet posted Any full-time Notre Dame student or Notre Dame alumnus may enter the McCloskey Competition.
NCIIA Sustainable Vision Grants nciia.org/grants/sustainablevision 2013 Applications closed 11/09/2012 Sustainable Vision grants fund educational programs in which technologies are created and commercialized to benefit people living in poverty.
Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition https://www.facebook.com/GSECUW 2013 Applications closed 11/12/2013 GSEC is open to students from any academic institution worldwide. Both graduate and undergraduate students are eligible.
Ennovent : Power to Empower Skills Enterprise Plan Competition www.ennovent.com/challenges/index/id/9 2013 Applications closed 11/14/2012 The objective of this competition is to find and promote grassroot entrepreneurs across India that have mastered innovative and sustainable solutions in skill building for India.
Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship www.skollfoundation.org/about/skoll-awards/ 2014 Applications selected from existing pool The Skoll Foundation presents the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship each year to a select few social entrepreneurs who are solving the world’s most pressing problems. The Skoll Award includes a core support grant to the organization, to be paid over three years, and a noncash award to the social entrepreneur presented at the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship every spring.
Unreasonable Institute unreasonableinstitute.org/apply/ 2014 Applications open 09/2013 The institute unites 25 young entrepreneurs for 6 weeks during each summer in Boulder, Colorado. During that time, they’ll live and work with 60 world-class mentors, form relationships with up to 30 impact investment funds, and prepare to launch financially self-sustaining, globally scalable ventures that can serve the needs of at least one million people.
Acterra Business Environmental Awards www.acterra.org/bea/ 2013 Applications closed
11/15/2012
Any private or public business entity, division or facility located in Alameda, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara or Santa Cruz County is eligible to apply
Global Social Venture Competition - India www.gsvc.org 2012 Applications closed
12/27/2012
Indian deadline. Via ISB.
Global Social Venture Competition - Europe www.gsvc.org 2012 Applications closed
12/28/2012
French Language deadline for GSVC. Via ESSEC.
Global Social Venture Competition - Americas www.gsvc.org 2012 Applications closed
12/30/2012
One team member must be a current or recent (2 years) graduate student. $45,000 in cash and in-kind prizes
Mai Bangkok Business Challenge @ Sasin www.bbc.in.th/ 2014 Applications closed
12/30/2013
At least three members of a team must be from the same graduate business administration program. Approx. $20,000 in cash prizes.
Echoing Green Fellowship www.echoinggreen.org/fellowship 2014 Applications not yet released  Organizations must be in a start-up phase. Two-year fellowships for emerging social entrepreneurs.
Global Social Venture Competition - SE Asia www.gsvc.org 1/12/2013 South east Asian GSVC entry point. Via Thammasat University.
Global Social Venture Competition - London www.gsvc.org 1/25/2013 English Language for Europe. Via EMEA.
Stanford Social E-Challenge bases.stanford.edu/150k/ 1/25/2013 At least one team member must be a Stanford student or recent alumni. $50,000 cash prize.
Dell Social Innovation Challenge dellchallenge.org/ 1/28/2013 Their challenge is open to students in all fields of study with any social impact innovation. Share your innovative ideas for solving a social or environmental problem and compete for $350,000 in prizes and awards!
Duke Executive Summary Competition www.dukestartupchallenge.org/ 1/31/2013 Each team must have at least one Duke student. Register via YouNoodle. Top teams will be invited to submit full plans. $50,000 Grand Prize.
UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition bplan.berkeley.edu/Compete/Process.html 1/31/2013 At least one team member must be a current student, faculty, staff or an alumnus/a of either the University of California at Berkeley or the University of California at San Francisco. Includes Energy and Cleantech Track
Seattle Pacific University Social Venture Plan Competition www.spu.edu/depts/sbe/svpc.asp