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HBS New Venture Competition Receives Record Entries to Social Enterprise Track

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The annual Harvard Business School (HBS) New Venture Competition—and its more than $300,000 in cash prizes—always attracts plenty of interest. Sponsored by the Rock Center for Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise Initiative, it offers HBS students the opportunity to enter ventures in one of two tracks:

  1. Business Track: For ventures that drives substantial market value and economic returns.
  2. Social Enterprise Track: For ventures that drive social change through nonprofit, for-profit, and hybrid models.

This year, there were a record 69 entries for the Social Enterprise Track—20 more than last year!

From those 69 entries, a team of expert social enterprise leaders from across Harvard was able to choose 16 semifinalists. These semifinalists have already passed an extensive review and deliberation process and will now present their ideas in front of a panel of expert judges that include philanthropists, impact investors, and social entrepreneurs.

The final presentation will occur on April 18th, with each semifinalist team vying for the $75,000 grand prize and $25,000 runner-up prize. As enticing as those cash prizes are to students with ventures they’re looking to launch, all participants enjoy the many following benefits:

  • Access to a series of workshops and office hours covering topics such as “how to develop a social enterprise plan” and “identifying the market for social ventures;”
  • The catalyst to develop a business plan and executive summary, which will be required for the final presentation;
  • Feedback from expert judges out of leading social organizations such as ACCION International, Echoing Green, and Invested Development, and
  • Reimbursement of up to $1,000 in startup expenses.

Without further ado, here are the 2018 Social Enterprise Track semifinalists:

  • C3 Solutions: A carbon capture company
  • CareZoom: An online platform for healthcare delivery
  • Covalent Networks: A software platform for workforce development programs
  • Dignify: A digital network matching refugees and locals
  • EatWell: A healthy eating company for low-income families
  • Fontes Irrigation: On-demand irrigation for farmers in Mozambique
  • Hoom: A smart, sustainable $10,000 home
  • ImmerLearn: Use machine learning and novel data to maximize the effectiveness of social and public programs.
  • Joro: An app for tracking CO2 emissions
  • Neptune: A better grease trap
  • OnTrack Births: Providing access to quality maternal care in India
  • SHLD: A Snapchat program that provides teens with wellness tips and suicide prevention
  • STEMgem: An IoT device toolkit
  • Trey: Empowering college athletes for future success
  • Umbulizer: A low-cost, portable ventilator for patients
  • UPON: Eliminate labor underutilization and increase women’s access to the workforce.

To learn more about each of the semifinalists, read the HBS Impact Insights Blog post.

Kelly Vo
Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and topics related to personal development. She has been working in the MBA space for the past four years in research, interview, and writing roles.