- The University of Texas at Austin is accepting entries for the 2011 Dell Social Innovation Competition through Feb. 14, 2011
- The Dell Social Innovation Competition is open to university students worldwide who have groundbreaking ideas to improve areas of critical human need
- More than $100,000 in prize money will be awarded to turn innovative social ideas into a new business or non-profit organization
Dell and the University of Texas at Austin's RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service are working together for the fifth consecutive year to help fuel the entrepreneurial spirit of the best and brightest young minds with the 2011 Dell Social Innovation Competition.
The program inspires university students to approach global social problems through entrepreneurship, technology and sustainability and empowers them with unique skills and opportunities to succeed in a globally competitive workforce. The contestants with the best idea and venture plan will be awarded a $50,000 grand prize.
The Dell Social Innovation Competition is open to higher education students across the globe who have a passion for a social issues and a plan to make a difference. All applications must be submitted online by Feb. 14, 2011.
Last year, more than 1,000 entries from teams in 55 countries representing 350 colleges and universities presented ideas that addressed issues such as environmental sustainability, poverty, health, women's rights and housing.
'True change comes from the ground up. Many times it's the small ideas that evolve into revolutionary organizations,' said Trisa Thompson, vice president of Corporate Responsibility, Dell. 'Dell was founded on these ideals and we want to build on the entrepreneurial spirit these students possess and equip them with the tools they need to turn their innovative ideas for social good into a reality.'
'We like to create a culture that empowers students to think big,' stated Suzi Sosa, associate director for programs at the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service, a research unit at the University of Texas' LBJ School of Public Affairs. 'This competition extends that opportunity to students worldwide, giving them a platform to share their idea on a global stage and possibly even the chance to fund and launch it. Our vision is a world in which thousands of students are daring to make a difference.'
New this year is a university partner network comprised of 100 higher education institutions that are leading the way in teaching social entrepreneurship and supporting student entrepreneurs. These organizations are given access to resources to help build their own social entrepreneurship program.
The Dell Social Innovation Competition is comprised of three stages:
Stage One: Students must enter ideas online by Feb. 14, 2011. Projects will be accessible to the public online. A panel of judges will select 90 projects and an additional 10 will be chosen by online voters, which will be announced on March 1, 2011.
•Stage Two: Semifinalists will be invited to develop their ideas into detailed venture plans and create video pitches that are due April 1, 2011. The plans will be judged by leaders in academia, business, government and the non-profit sector. From these semifinalists, five finalist teams will be selected.
•Stage Three: The five finalists will be announced on April 15, 2011, and invited to travel to Austin, Texas, in order to pitch their ideas live in front of a panel of expert judges.
The final event will be held on May 16, 2011, at The University of Texas at Austin. The grand prize winners will be announced at a reception following the presentations.
The first place winner will receive $50,000; second place, $20,000; and third place, $10,000. Each of these cash awards is given to help the contestants turn their ideas into a new business or non-profit organization. The first, second and third place teams also will receive two Dell laptops each and be granted access to the top social entrepreneurship networks and events. Additionally, entrants are eligible to win a $10,000 Dell Technology Award, $10,000 Tomberg Prize in Environmental Sustainability or $10,000 People's Choice award.
Past winners of the Dell Social Innovation Competition include Shining Hope for Communities, the 2010 grand prize winner that links tuition-free school for girls to accessible, income-generating social services for all to combat gender inequality in places of extreme poverty. Gardens for Health, the 2009 winner, is dedicated to enabling people living with HIV/AIDS to improve their nutrition, health and treatment adherence through sustainable agriculture. Other ideas encouraged by the competition include Embrace, a $25 infant incubator for developing nations, and Waste to Watts, which creates innovative products from repurposed electronic waste to meet the energy dilemmas of the developing world.
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