John Edwardson, '72, Social New Venture Challenge

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), organized by the Social Enterprise Initiative, in concert with the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, helps students develop and launch for-profit and nonprofit ventures that have a social impact mission and a model for financial sustainability. Learn more about past winners of the SNVC ยป

The SNVC spans several months, allowing students to conceptualize, develop, and launch new social ventures through classroom instruction, mentorship, and coaching. 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.

Students accepted into the SNVC take the New Social Ventures course, which includes case studies, lectures, and readings about social organizations and related institutions and focuses on various topics relating to launching a new social enterprise - including evaluation, financing, management, performance and impact measurement, and governance.

Throughout the Spring Quarter, teams are selected and given the opportunity and resources to develop their social venture, create a detailed plan for its creation and growth, and pitch the plan to faculty, social entrepreneurs, domain experts, foundation officers, and philanthropists.

In May, finalist teams present to a panel of esteemed judges and compete for a total of $50,000 in prize money, as well as in-kind resources and services. Join us at the 2015 SNVC Finals!

Past SNVC teams include: LuminAID Lab, Moneythink, Hello Tractor, Relief Watch, and Purple Binder.

Apply to the SNVC

Students with an original new idea for a for-profit or nonprofit venture with a focus on social impact are encouraged to participate in the SNVC and turn their entrepreneurial ideas into reality. Each team is required to have at least one current University of Chicago student in order to participate.

Applications for the SNVC were due via online submission on Monday, February 9, 2015 at 10 a.m. CST, no exceptions. Download the entry kit here.

Note: NVC and SNVC applications are the same. Teams may apply to both programs through the same application, but must check both boxes on the application. Once filled out, the application should be emailed to Teams will only be allowed to compete in one track. For more information about applying to the NVC, visit our resources page.

Download the SNVC Official Rules and Eligibility Guidelines here.

Download the 2014-2015 Eligibility Chart here.

Contact Erica Phillips with questions related to the 2014-15 Social New Venture Challenge.


Check the calendar for SNVC deadlines. Or download the SNVC 2014-2015 Calendar here.


The SNVC typically awards $50,000 in cash prizes to the winning and finalist teams.

Last Updated 4/30/15