John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge
Our startups are educating US voters about down-ballot candidates and issues, helping families in rural areas access innovative autism therapy, connecting farmers in Nigeria with technology, and more.
Together, SNVC companies have raised more than $165 million in philanthropic dollars, grant support, and venture-capital funding. Offered in partnership with the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago, the SNVC provides social entrepreneurship mentorship and funding for startups with a social mission at their core.
How the SNVC Works
The SNVC is open to currently enrolled graduate students at UChicago who want to launch a for-profit or nonprofit startup. Successful applicants must have a plausible plan for financial sustainability—either through equity investment, direct revenue, grants from philanthropy, government funding, or a combination thereof. Finalists compete every June for at least $100,000 in prize money to further their social ventures.
SNVC teams enroll in New Social Ventures, a Booth course that complements the SNVC program.
Learn More and Apply
The SNVC at Chicago Booth is not just a weekend competition; it’s a comprehensive launch program that includes three phases, from idea generation to critical feedback to final pitches. Applications are due near the end of January, and the final competition takes place in June.
“Each year, I’m more impressed with the commitment and enthusiasm UChicago students have for making a meaningful impact on social issues. As the SNVC has expanded its reach at Booth and across the university, the social entrepreneurs who participate have developed even stronger business models and pitches. I’m proud to support their work.”
SNVC participants are invited to join the UChicago Global Entrepreneurs Network (GEN), a global community of entrepreneurs and investors that provides alumni and student entrepreneurs with valuable connections and other resources.
Amount raised to date by startups that went through the SNVC$165M
Startups launched from SNVC150+
Participating teams in 202220
“Where are they now?” Alum-founded Social New Venture Challenge team sets sights on educating voters in 2020.BallotReady Helps Prepare Voters for 2020 Elections
“Where are they now?” Alum-founded Social New Venture Challenge team teaches the art of debate.Finding a Voice: Chicago Students Thrive Through Debate it Forward
A Q&A between Booth's Robert H. Gertner and Chelsea Sprayregen, ’17, who is the cofounder of Pie for Providers (formerly Provide), which won the 2017 SNVC finals. Lessons Learned: The SNVC Directly Sent Me Down the Career Path I’m on Today