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Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition – 'Changing the world, one business at a time'
by Startacus Admin
Are you a university level student with a great sustainable business idea that could provide a solution to some of the world’s greatest challenges?
Here at Startacus we are no stranger to entrepreneur/startup competitions, in fact they are one of our favourite things to write about! We are also keenly interested to hear about social enterprises and projects which are setting themselves the daunting challenge of making the world a better place.
So when we stumbled upon a competition from the University of Washington which aims to mash both these things together, we simply had to find out more... and we liked what we found.
The Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition is fast becoming a feature of the University of Washington's annual schedule, and tasks university students from all over the world with creating viable business ideas which will help solve world issues including poverty, health and development.
So far the competition has truly lived up to its name, with the 14 semi-finalist teams of last year hailing from India, Nigeria, the US and Bangladesh (to name a but a few).
To give you an idea of the kinds of businesses which the competition is aiming to help, here are a few of the winners from previous years:
Jorsey Ashbel Farms - Turns mango seeds (which are not much use except for growing mangos) into feed for livestock, helping to alleviate the problem of protein malnutrition in Nigeria where millions are affected.
Lifechair - An innovative business that makes wheelchairs from bamboo and abandoned rickshaw wheels. The process is much less costly than that of traditional wheelchairs and the chairs made are perfectly suited to work in uneven rural landscapes.
Nuru Energy - Provides an affordable and sustainable solution to energy poverty in some of the world’s poorest areas - a pedal generator which can be used to quickly and efficiently recharge specially designed LED lights.
Malo Traders - Help alleviate inequalities in the international rice market and ensure that farmers have access to the best possible knowledge and equipment to maximise production and produce the best quality and nutrient rich rice.
So what’s on offer?
A number of semi-finalist student teams from around the world will be invited to Seattle to pitch their ideas to experts and judges who will select the winners of various categories dependent on merit and commercial viability. The prizes are sponsored by various groups including Microsoft, the Global Business Centre and NCIIA and include:
Grand prize - $12,500
Information communication and technology prize - $10,000
Global Health Prize- $10,000
Seattle Rotary Prize- $1500
Aside from the obvious boost which could come from a hefty cash injection, all finalists will also benefit from the coaching of development, health and business professionals as well as the opportunity to expand their network of contacts – so it’s pretty much a win win!
The closing date for applications is the 12 November (5pm Pacific Time) so if you reckon your idea could be in with a shot it’s time to put pen to paper and make it happen!
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