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Social new Venture Challenge

Our startups are helping k-12 students learn math, digitally connecting prison inmates with legal counsel, 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 $150,000 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.

Learn More about Eligibility 

John Edwardson making a point while speaking into a microphone

“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.”

— John Edwardson, ’72

Become a Sponsor

We invite you to join us by supporting the SNVC as a contributing sponsor. For information on becoming a sponsor, contact Tali Griffin.

By the Numbers

Since its founding in 2011, the SNVC has helped hundreds of student entrepreneurs pursue and develop effective and sustainable solutions to some of our most intractable problems. SNVC alumni have gone on to create meaningful change around the world.

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Amount raised to date by startups that went through the SNVC

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Startups launched from SNVC

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Participating teams in 2023

Edwardson Social Entrepreneurship Program

SNVC Stories

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