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In an effort to spark the energy, idealism, and spirit of social entrepreneurship for the public good, the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at the LBJ School of Public Affairs has announced it will award $50,000 to a student who develops a compelling and innovative new initiative that will contribute to the public good.
The Social Innovation Competition will provide the "venture capital" for a student innovation from idea to reality by developing skills in plan development, pitching ideas to investors, developing networks and receiving constructive feedback for increasing the probability of successfully launching a venture. The competition operates like a business plan competition; awarding seed funding directly to the student-led venture that best meets the judges' criteria. The range of projects eligible for the award is limited only by the ambitions and imaginations of the contestants.
"The idea of entrepreneurship has been most associated with the worlds of business or technological invention," said Peter Frumkin, Director of the RGK Center. "But in recent years the idea of social entrepreneurs—men and women who identify critical human needs and develop innovative solutions to fix them—have been recognized for the profound social transformations they made happen."
"Our hope is to use this competition to encourage students from all disciplines to unleash their energy, idealism and public-spirited thinking to affect change in areas of critical human need," Frumkin said.
The competition has three stages. Any number of students may write brief statements of their ideas in a "dream paper" to be submitted electronically to Heather Alden at firstname.lastname@example.org, no later than 5:00 p.m. (CST), February 16, 2007. A select group of 30 will be invited to develop detailed venture plans. Five finalists will present their plans to a selection committee comprised of leaders from the business, nonprofit and government sectors. At the final event held at the University of Texas at Austin, a single winner will be chosen and awarded $50,000.
The Social Innovation Competition was made possible with the cooperation of the MFI Foundation, the family foundation of Lynn and Tom Meredith, which believes in supporting creative approaches to addressing the world's most challenging problems.
"Exposing students to the unlimited possibilities of social entrepreneurship cultivates a new generation of leaders who use ingenious ideas to power positive change. By seeding these student change makers, anything is possible," said Frumkin.
For more information about the Social Innovation Competition, go to the competition web site at http://rgkcenter.utexas.edu/competition/ where you may also sign up for the mailing list to receive updates and other important information regarding the contest.