John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge


Chicago Booth houses one of the nation’s first social venture competitions: the John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge (SNVC). Since 2011, the SNVC has helped jump-start more than 100 companies and nonprofits.

Our startups are connecting farmers with technology, teaching high-school students financial skills, and more. SNVC companies have raised more than $35 million in philanthropic dollars, grant support, and venture capital funding.

Where are they now?

2019 SNVC winner Debate it Forward is expanding its debate program offerings to Chicago students, even during the pandemic. Read more »

2015 SNVC winner BallotReady expands and educates voters about down ballot issues and candidates. Read more »

Cofounder of 2017 SNVC winner Pie for Providers leveraged her SNVC experience in an early education startup role. Read more »

What is the SNVC?

Hello TractorOffered in partnership with the University of Chicago Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the SNVC is the social impact track of the university's nationally ranked business launch program, the New Venture Challenge.

SNVC teams enroll in New Social Ventures (BUS 34115), a Booth course that complements the SNVC program.

The SNVC is open to for-profit and nonprofit startups with a social mission at their core. Successful applicants must have a plausible plan for financial sustainability—either through equity investment, direct revenue, grants from philanthropy, government funding, or some combination. Six to seven finalists compete every June for $100,000 in prize money to further their social ventures.


Learn more about the SNVC

Watch the SNVC Finals on Tuesday, June 1. RSVP now »

For more details on eligibility requirements, key dates, and how to apply,
visit this page.

SNVC participants are welcome to join the UChicago Global Entrepreneurs Network (GEN), which connects UChicago alumni entrepreneurs with investors around the globe. Spearheaded by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in partnership with the UChicago and Booth alumni relations offices and the Rustandy Center, UC GEN is open to anyone with a University of Chicago degree and current or former UChicago staff and faculty. To join the UChicago GEN LinkedIn Group, fill out the online form.


Social New Venture Challenge “The SNVC resonated with what I have thought we needed to be doing at Booth for people who want to change the world. How do we help them learn to do that? It’s rewarding to see this many MBA students wanting to make a difference, spending a lot of time coming up with ideas and plans on how to make things happen.”

—John Edwardson, ’72, speaking to Chicago Booth Magazine in 2015

SNVC Social Impact Stories

SNVC startups are tackling complex problems around the world and garnering widespread attention for their work. Learn more about three notable SNVC companies: LuminAID, Hello Tractor, and BallotReady.


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