The Rockefeller Foundation-Acumen Student Social Innovation Challenge 73 views

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Acumen, with the support of the The Rockefeller Foundation, is inviting student innovators around the world to take part in the 2019-2020 Rockefeller Foundation-Acumen Student Social Innovation Challenge. The Challenge serves to equip student innovators to solve problems associated with poverty through a global challenge platform. Student teams from around the world are invited to explore areas of opportunity, develop ideas, and pitch for funding and mentorship.

There are 2 tracks that students can take part in:

  • Virtual Competition: Don’t have access to a competition through your university? You can participate in our Virtual Challenge from anywhere in the world!
  • On Campus Competitions: held in more than 30 universities around the world. Participating universities and the university partner competitions can be found on the Official Website.

The Challenge areas for this year’s competition are:

  • Health: How can social enterprises provide access to quality and affordable healthcare to everyone, regardless of their income or location?
  • Food and Agriculture: How can we build food and agriculture systems that nourish the world, while improving the lives of smallholder farmers?
  • Energy: How can social entrepreneurs increase access to clean, reliable, and affordable energy through innovative off-grid solutions?
  • Workforce Development: How can social entrepreneurs democratize education and training so that all people have the skills needed to find and grow in quality jobs that provide economic mobility?
  • Financial Inclusion: How can social entrepreneurs help more people achieve financial health through affordable, accessible, and customer-centric financial tools?


Virtual Competition winners will receive funding and join the Community of Social Innovators. Winning teams will receive up to US$20,000 from a funding pool of US$100,000. They will also be invited to join Acumen’s Community of Social Innovators to receive ongoing support from a network of Acumen Fellows, social entrepreneurs, and change-makers, to help them turn their ideas into impactful enterprises.

See the Official Website for details of the benefits and prizes for each On-Campus Competition. Each on-campus competition has a different prize strategy.


Applicants must be university students who want to solve social challenges in the abovementioned 5 areas. They have to form a team and come up with an idea for solving the problem in 1 of the 5 Challenge Areas.

Entrants for the Virtual Competition will refine their ideas through online courses and Learning Labs and then pitch their ideas for a chance to win funding, mentorship and support. Top teams will be invited to join the Student Social Enterprise Accelerator, which will begin on 27 January 2020. Through the accelerator, students will develop their idea with one-on-one coaching, peer mentoring, and case studies. The pitching of the social venture to a panel of judges will take place before 13 March 2020.


Applicants for the Virtual Competition have to register online for the Lean Startup online course by 15 October 2019 and complete the course and submit their social venture idea by 26 November 2019.

See the Official Website for application deadlines for each On-Campus Competition.

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