Best University Social Entrepreneurship Competitions

collegiate competitions

Social entrepreneurship is on the rise. These enterprises seek to directly address and impact social problems, large and small. Although they are still interested in making money, it is usually this type of entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurs who create the business also want to make a positive impact on the world. This is a noble goal, and in recent years it has been gaining momentum. Many colleges in the US and around the world also have competitions. These collegiate social entrepreneurship competitions are usually held for business-oriented students. In addition, the winners of these competitions usually receive grants to fund their ideas.

So, with all of that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the top university competitions in social entrepreneurship.

Social entrepreneurship around the world

University of Missouri – Columbia

The University of Missouri offers its own competition called 4strike. The program offers students the opportunity to create something that will benefit society. It is headed by the Entrepreneurs’ Collegiate Organization (CEO) Mizzu. This is a fairly new event for the college as it only started in the spring of 2021.

Registration opens from March. Workshops are held in April to help participants understand what they are creating and their goals. Finally, in May, the best candidates get the opportunity to present their ideas. The judges then announce the winner.

To participate in the competition, you must meet some requirements. These include:

  • Must be a full-time student or graduate student at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
  • Individuals or teams can apply.
  • Ideas can be at any stage of development.
  • Ideas can be services or products.
  • Commercial or non-commercial are allowed, although it needs to be explained in more detail to make a profit.
  • If you are visiting with a visa, the prize money can be used as a scholarship.
  • Applicants must attend all required face-to-face events for the 4impact program.

UC Berkeley Haas School of Business

On the West Coast, the Berkeley School of Business hosts the Global Social Enterprise Competition (GSVC), with prizes of up to $80,000. It was founded in 1999. Since then, he has expanded his global network of business schools and programs. Moreover, in 2017, GSVC received over 600 applications from 65 countries.

Here are some of the successful social entrepreneurship projects implemented under the program. You may have heard of some!

  • revolutionary food
  • The power of the husk
  • Ethos Water
  • Sanergy

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

In New England, MIT hosted the Arab Startup Competition (ASC) MIT Enterprise Forum in 2006. Its goal is to empower entrepreneurs in the Arab region. In addition, winning teams receive up to $120,000 in free equity funds. It also offers many benefits from seminars such as mentoring and media coverage.

The criteria for this program include:

  • Teams must have at least two members.
  • Teams must have a working product that benefits society and at the same time makes a profit.
  • Startups must be registered in an Arab country.
  • Startups must generate income every year.
  • Startups cannot raise more than $1.5 million in funding.
  • A startup must be either in the technology or digital sector.

Indian Institute of Management Kolkata (IIM-C)

In India, IIM-C launched the Tata Social Enterprise Challenge in 2012. Like others on the list, he aims to find young social entrepreneurs who are committed to improving society. Similarly, it is a collaborative initiative that uses a business plan competition or a B-plan competition.

The purpose of the B-Plan competition is to attract social entrepreneurs who have a promising idea or an early start-up no older than three years to make a positive impact in India.

The B-Plan competition consists of four stages:

  • Impact proposal round. Teams must submit their proposal on the website in the form of a detailed business plan.
  • Regional Rounds: The top 100 teams then compete to narrow it down to the top 20.
  • Semi-finals: From there, the top 20 teams are reduced to 10 teams.
  • Grand Final: Out of these 10 teams, one will be declared the winner.


In Japan, ARUN is an organization created by Japanese corporate entities who seek to solve problems in Asia with the help of Japanese companies and their funding. Any social entrepreneurship is allowed, although it must be within 5 years of starting.

They do not allow:

  • Religious startups
  • Political startups
  • Scholarships
  • Research projects

The stages of the competition include: application period, selection of documents, online presentation, and then final selection. Winners receive up to $50,000 along with mentoring from investors.


It is shown that not only the United States, but the whole world has been using university competitions for social entrepreneurship for at least ten years. Because of this, many new businesses are on the rise and have a global impact. So, if you are a business oriented person, check your local university and see if they offer any competition like the ones listed above.

Related Post: 10 Tips for Becoming a Social Entrepreneur


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