2016 Social Venture Challenge seeks contestants


Photo by Perry Smith Photography

First-place winner of the 2015 UNH Social Venture Innovation Challenge Community Track was Dan Karr of Bedford, center, for his creation of the consumer analytics company ValChoice.

Registration is open for the 2016 NH Social Venture Innovation Challenge, a competition that showcases the idealism and ingenuity of students and entrepreneurs across the Granite State.

Designed as an “innovation accelerator,” the competition asks contestants to design innovative, sustainable, businessorientated solutions in response to pressing social and environmental challenges.

Detailed plans are not required, but rather proposals in the form of a threeminute 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.

Prizes in this year’s competition total over $65,000, organizers said.

There are two tracks – one for community members (New Hampshire residents and any UNH alumni) and another for students in any college or university in the state.

Cash prizes for the Community Track are: first prize, $10,000; second, $5,000; third, $2,500. In addition, PixelMEDIA, a web design & development firm, will provide 100 hours of pro bono consulting to the first-place winner of the Community Track.

A package of additional in-kind prizes worth approximately $7,000 are also available to each of the three winners of the Community Track. The package, for the top three finishers, includes $4,500 of startup services from the Pierce Atwood law firm, 12 months of flex membership for use of a co-working space in one of AlphaLoft’s New Hampshire locations, a one-year subscription to NH Business Review, and a partner-level annual membership to NH Businesses for Social Responsibility.

Cash prizes for the Student Track are: first prize, $5,000; second, $3,000; third, $2,000.

Deadline to register and file an “intent to compete” is 5 p.m., Friday Oct. 7. Submissions are due by 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7.

Eight teams in each track will be selected to advance to the final round, which will take place Thursday, Dec. 1, in Durham.

The SVIC is organized by the Center for Social Innovation & Enterprise, and is also co-hosted by UNH’s Sustainability Institute, NH EPSCoR, Net Impact UNH and UNHInnovation.

Lead sponsors are Kennebunk Savings Bank, Pierce Atwood, PixelMEDIA and Timberland, as well as the NH Charitable Foundation, AlphaLoft, CCA Global, NH Business Review and NH Businesses for Social Responsibility. 

Full details on registration, deadlines and eligibility can be found at unh.edu/svic.

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