Social NVC


In 2011, given growing student interest in social entrepreneurship, Chicago Booth developed a new track of the Edward L. Kaplan, '71, New Venture Challenge (NVC) uniquely focused on launching social enterprises. The John Edwardson, '72, Social New Venture Challenge (SNVC), is organized by the Social Enterprise Initiative, in concert with the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Qualifying companies and organizations can be structured either as for-profits or nonprofits but must show a focus on social impact, as well as a model for financial sustainability—either through profits, earned income, philanthropy, government aid, or some combination thereof.

Eligibility Requirements:

All currently enrolled graduate students at the University of Chicago are eligible to apply to the SNVC as an individual or as a team. It is highly encouraged to submit an application to the SNVC as a team with cross-functional expertise. Alumni of the university and individuals not affiliated with the university are eligible to apply to the SNVC as long as they have at least one current UChicago student as an integral member of the team (i.e., someone with a minimum of 10% equity stake in the venture). However, only current UChicago students are allowed to present in class and at the finals event; other team members may participate in the Q&A only.


Most other business schools and graduate entrepreneurship programs host a single day or weekend business plan competition. The SNVC at Chicago Booth is not just a competition. Instead, it is a year-long launch program that features three distinct phases:

  • Phase I: Team Formation & Business Idea Validation
  • Phase II: Classroom Mentoring & Business Plan Development
  • Phase III: Finals Competition
Faculty Advisor
Rob Gertner

Rob Gertner

Joel F. Gemunder Professor of Strategy and Finance; Deputy Dean for the Part-Time MBA Programs; Faculty Codirector of the Social Enterprise Initiative at Chicago Booth

Professor Gertner is faculty codirector of the Social Enterprise Initiative. He teaches New Social Ventures (Social New Venture Challenge) and has previously taught the Global New Venture Challenge. His research interests include strategic decision-making, corporate finance, organization structure, theory of the firm, and social enterprises. He has published papers in numerous scholarly journals including the Quarterly Journal of Economics, Review of Economic Studies, and the Yale Law Journal. Gertner is a trustee of the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, a national organization devoted to large-scale social research in public interest. He is also a board member of the Interfaith Youth Core, and a member of the Evaluation Advisory Council of the Chicago Public Education Fund.


Upcoming Events and Deadlines:

  • October 27, 2015: SNVC Kickoff
  • January 7, 2016: SNVC Feasibility Summary Presentation
  • February 8, 2016: SNVC Feasibility Summaries Due
  • February 24, 2016: SNVC Phase II Teams Announced
  • March 2, 2016: SNVC Phase II Orientation
  • May 6, 2016: SNVC Business Plans Due
  • May 25, 2016: SNVC Finals Teams Announced
  • May 26–June 2, 2016: UChicago Innovation Week
  • May 31, 2016: SNVC Finals / Polsky Innovation Showcase

Application will be posted soon. 

Contact: For more information on the SNVC, complete our information request form or contact Cortney Robinson.