Best Collegiate Competitions for Social Entrepreneurship

by / ⠀Entrepreneurship Startup Advice / September 14, 2022
collegiate competitions

Social entrepreneurship is on the rise. These businesses look to directly address and impact social issues big and small. Though they are still interested in making money, typically this type of entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurs that create businesses want to make a positive impact on the world as well. It’s a noble goal and it has been picking up speed in recent years. At multiple colleges across the United States and the world, they have also been offering competitions. These collegiate competitions for social entrepreneurship are typically for business-oriented students. Additionally, winners of these competitions usually win grants to help fund their ideas.

So, with all of that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best collegiate competitions for social entrepreneurship.

Social Entrepreneurship Across the Globe

University of Missouri – Columbia

The University of Missouri offers its own competition called 4impact. The program offers students the chance to create something that benefits society. It is led by the Collegiate Entrepreneur’s Organization (CEO) of Mizzou. This is a fairly new event for the college as it just launched in the Spring of 2021.

Starting in March is when the registration opens. In April, there are workshops that assist the participants in what they are creating and their goals. Finally, in May, the top applicants get the chance to pitch their ideas. Then, the judges declare a winner.

Some eligibility guidelines must be met in order to compete. These include:

  • Must be a full-time undergraduate or graduate student at the University of Missouri – Columbia.
  • Individuals or teams may apply.
  • Ideas can be at any stage of development.
  • Ideas can be services or products.
  • For-profit or non-profit is allowed, although a for-profit needs to be explained more in-depth.
  • If attending with a visa, prize money may be used as a scholarship.
  • Applicants have to attend all required in-person events for the 4impact program.
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University of California Berkley’s Haas School of Business

On the West Coast at Berkley’s School of Business is the Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC), they provide up to $80,000 in prizes. It was founded in 1999. Since then, it has expanded a global network of business schools and programs. Moreover, in 2017, GSVC had gotten over 600 entries from 65 countries.

Here are some of the successful social entrepreneurship that came from the program. Perhaps you heard of some!

  • Revolution Foods
  • Husk Power
  • Ethos Water
  • Sanergy

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

In New England, MIT started the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition (ASC) in 2006. Its goal is to empower entrepreneurs in the Arab Region. Also, winning teams get up to $120,000 in equity-free funds. It also offers many benefits from the workshops such as mentorships and media exposure.

Criteria for this program include:

  • Teams have to have at least two members.
  • Teams need to have a working product that benefits society while also being for-profit.
  • The startups have to be registered in an Arab country.
  • Startups should generate revenue every year.
  • Startups can’t have raised funding over $1.5 million.
  • The startup should either be in tech or digital sector.

Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIM-C)

In India, IIM-C started the Tata Social Enterprise Challenge in 2012. Like the others on the list, it strives to find young social entrepreneurs who seek to better society. Likewise, it is a joint initiative that uses the Business Plan Contest or the B-Plan Contest.

The point of the B-Plan Contest is to bring in social entrepreneurs who have a promising idea or an early startup that is not older than three years old to create a positive impact in India.

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The B-Plan Contest has four stages:

  • Impact Proposal Round. Teams have to submit to the website their proposal in a detailed business plan.
  • Regional Rounds: The top 100 teams then compete to narrow it down to the top 20.
  • Semi-Finals: From there, the top 20 teams shrink to just 10 teams.
  • Grand Finale: From these 10 teams, one will be declared the winner.


In Japan, ARUN is an organization created by Japanese corporate individuals, who seek to solve issues in Asia with the assistance of Japanese companies and their funding. Any social entrepreneurship is allowed although it must be within 5 years of starting.

They do not allow:

  • Religious Startups
  • Political Startups
  • Scholarships
  • Research-heavy projects

Phases for the competition include: an application period, selecting of documents, an online presentation, and then the final selection. Winners get up to $50,000 along with mentorships from the investors.


It is shown that not just the United States, but the world has been using collegiate competitions for social entrepreneurship for at least a decade or more. Because of this, many new businesses are on the rise and are making global impacts. So, if you are a business-oriented person, check out your local university and see if they offer any competition like the ones listed above.

Related Post: 10 Tips to Make a Big Impact as a Social Entrepreneur

About The Author

Tristan Anderson

Hello! My name is Tristan Anderson and I live in Manhattan, Kansas. I enjoy being in nature and animals. I am also a huge geek who loves Star Wars and has a growing collection.


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