Map the System (UNC)
Map the System is a global competition of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, delivered in partnership with educational institutions around the world. From its inception in 2015, Map the System was designed to change the conversation in social impact education — moving from an overemphasis on the ‘heropreneur’ and new ‘solutions’ (typically in the form of a new proposed program or social venture) — toward a focus on deep understanding of complex problems as the foundation for driving transformational change.
Hult Prize (UNC)
The Hult Prize Foundation transforms how young people envision their own possibilities as leaders of change in the world around them. With a US$1,000,000 global startup prize as its anchor activity, the Hult Prize has brought impact-focused programs, events and trainings to over a million students globally, creating a pathway for youth everywhere to take action to build a better world.
In just over a decade, the foundation has deployed more than $65M into the impact sector which it helped create. Operating on more than 2,000 college and university campuses in 121 countries with a global team of more than 30,000 staff, student volunteers, and changemakers, the Hult Prize continues to be a disruptive global leader in education, soft skills training, and entrepreneurial development for the 21st century.
The Carolina Challenge (UNC)
The Carolina Challenge–UNC’s premiere entrepreneurship competition– engages approximately 500 students at Carolina, representing 145 teams across more than 40 fields of study. Through our annual competitions, we award over $25,000 annually to winning students to help them start to build their ideas into a business or social venture. The Carolina Challenge kicks off each fall with the Pitch Party followed by the Makeathon in early spring. The Carolina Challenge’s competitions and workshops welcome and encourage all UNC students to participate, with no prior experience required.
Davis Projects for Peace
Davis Projects for Peace is open to all undergraduates at the 76 institutions (including UNC-Chapel Hill) that are part of the Davis United World College Scholars Program. Students are invited to design grassroots projects that they will implement during the summer. Davis Projects for Peace selects 100 projects judged to be the most promising and feasible and funds them at $10,000 each.
Energy R&D, covering transportation and stationary applications; electricity generation by both renewable and nonrenewable means; electricity transmission, storage, and distribution; energy efficiency for buildings, manufacturing and commerce, and personal use; all aspects of transportation
Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge
There are many competitions that focus on social entrepreneurship or early-stage investments. The Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge is different in that it focuses on scalable solutions created by finance. The Sustainable Investing Challenge asks you to consider finance and investment tools as a means to create impact on their own, and is one of the few ways for students to gain experience and get feedback crafting real proposals that fit into this critical and growing field.
The world has already invented products and services to end poverty. Yet millions of people still don’t have access. Can you design a business or NGO that solves one of the Distribution Challenges below? The most promising teams will be awarded up to $20,000 USD to launch a pilot version of your new organization wherever extreme poverty exists.
Rice University Business Plan Competition
Any graduate-student startup, in a broad range of industries, from any university, in any degree program can apply to the RBPC.
Clinton Global Initiative University
The Clinton Global Initiative University is looking for higher education student leaders who are committed to take action in their community to address a pressing challenge. We are looking for undergraduate and graduate students across the world who are motivated to make a positive change in the areas of education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty allevation, and public health. Students accepted into CGI U will participate in a year-round program that includes access to: high-touch mentorship; a social impact curriculum; funding streams; and student engagement events.
MIT Clean Energy Prize
Their mission is to empower university students to launch companies that tackle the climate challenge.
Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition
Consider the most prestigious and well-funded competition of its kind, the Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition celebrates and nurtures meaningful innovations in education. Since 2010, it has awarded more than $1.4 million in cash prizes.
Solve is an initiative of the with a mission to solve world challenges. Solve is a marketplace for social impact innovation. Through open innovation Challenges, Solve finds incredible tech-based social entrepreneurs all around the world. Solve then brings together MIT’s innovation ecosystem and a community of Members to fund and support these entrepreneurs to help them drive lasting, transformational impact.
Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge
The Fowler GSIC is a social venture pitch competition that recognizes, resources and rewards student-led social ventures focused on sustainable change.
Are you building a company and looking for connections to the right investors? Do you seek community with Black entrepreneurs? Are you looking to meet experts who can help make connections and open doors? pitch is structured to create value beyond the possibility of prize money. pitch delivers a robust experience for the participating entrepreneurs from the time they apply until weeks after the big event concludes.
Elon Innovation Challenge
The Elon Innovation Challenge is a two-round competition where students identify a problem that arose due to the pandemic, relating to a business, startup, or non-profit organization, and pitch their solution.
Cisco Problem Solver Challenge
How can your early-stage innovative technology solution solve the world’s most pressing social and environmental problems? Cisco is seeking early-stage startups who have raised less than $1M USD in investment and/or revenue at the time of submission. Teams must submit a brief application, including a 90-second video about their technology, explaining how it benefits people, society or the planet.
Eship Scholars Program (UNC)
The Eship Scholars program was created to celebrate and support students from backgrounds and identities underrepresented in entrepreneurship who display the drive and qualities of a successful entrepreneur, but who may not self-identify as an entrepreneur. Scholars receive a fellowship award of up to $5,000 which they can use for their business or personal expenses. This support helps students focus on reaching their entrepreneurial goals. This program also connects these high-potential student entrepreneurs with mentorship, coaching, and connections from industry experts. This results in students being able to invest in their own self-development, launch successful careers and/or ventures, and accelerate their entrepreneurial journey on their own unique path.
The Ashoka Fellowship begins with a rigorous nomination process that only accepts those who fulfill the five criteria. This enduring selection process challenges Changemakers to scrutinize their own work and develop personally and organizationally. Once accepted, fellows have access to the expansive Ashoka Fellows network and targeted funding support for life.
Baltimore Corp Fellowship
The Baltimore Corps Fellowship connects talented professionals to the most innovative and groundbreaking work in Baltimore City. While working with their organization over a period of one year, Fellows will benefit from professional development and programming that focuses on equity and social justice. This Fellowship will build your network, your skill-sets, and your personal growth.
Echoing Green Fellowships
The Echoing Green Fellowship is a two year program in which fellows are given guidance, mentorship, and professional consulting in order to propel their organization to success. Echoing Green fellows reject the status quo by innovating the world around them in order to create positive social change.
University Innovation Fellowship
The Fellowship in University Innovation is specifically for individuals interested in transforming the role of higher education. As part of the University Innovation fellowship, individuals spend thirteen-months working within the university. During this time, fellows develop the hard and soft skills integral to re-defining higher ed, including research, grant-writing, collaboration, team organization and leadership. Fellows are paid a competitive salary. This Fellowship was inducted into the Ashoka U – Cordes Innovation Hall of Fame in 2015.
Wild Gift Fellowship
The Wild Gift Fellowship is focused on kindling the wild spirit and raw energy it takes to be a social entrepreneur. The fellowship begins with a three-week wilderness expedition to unplug and re-center. Then they enter into a sixteen-month program where they are given support and guidance to jump start their own social venture with help from their own mentor and the Wild Gift network at large. They also receive $10,000 in seed money.
IDEX Global Fellowship
The IDEX fellowship is a six-month immersive experience in the social enterprise/development world where aspiring social intrapreneurs get selected from across the globe. Fellows get placed with a social enterprise in their sector of interest (such as education, healthcare, impact investing, gender, etc.) and get an opportunity to build their skills, networks and a professional portfolio through an intensive curriculum and a strong element of peer engagement. The fellows are placed mostly in Bangalore, India. Each year IDEX runs two fellowship cycles of six months each: January-June and July-December.
Kiva Fellows serve as Kiva’s eyes and ears on the ground, helping extend limited resources to maximize impact. Fellows have a unique opportunity to witness the realities of microfinance firsthand by working directly with Kiva’s international field partners in over 80 countries. The fellowship is designed to increase Kiva’s global impact.
Venture for America
Venture for America is a nonprofit fellowship program empowering recent college graduates to launch their careers as entrepreneurs and revitalize American cities. After five weeks of training, VFA Fellows spend two years working for a startup in a U.S. city with an emerging startup ecosystem. Throughout the fellowship, they learn how to contribute to a high-growth business and gain access to mentorship, ongoing training, and the nationwide VFA community. When Fellows and alumni are ready to build companies of their own, VFA provides the resources they need to become entrepreneurs.
Founded by technology entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel in 2011, the Thiel Fellowship is a two-year program for young people who want to build new things. Thiel Fellows skip or stop out of college to receive a $100,000 grant and support from the Thiel Foundation’s network of founders, investors, and scientists.
Draper Richards Foundation
Draper Richards Foundation provides funding and business mentoring to social entrepreneurs.
Dreamers Who Do (UNC)
The Innovate Carolina Dreamers-Who-Do Award is meant to expand the minds and real-world experiences of our student entrepreneurs. With the plethora of opportunities students are exposed to through the award, they are creating waves of positive change within their communities. Positive change: the movement that inspires you and your neighbor to do great, feel great and be great.
1789 Student Venture Fund (UNC)
The 1789 Student Venture Fund provides Carolina students with critical seed funding to explore, test and launch commercial startups or social ventures at their earliest stages. This fund doesn’t involve competition, so students can apply without the pressure of outshining their fellow students via on-stage presentations or head-to-head pitch battles. Instead, this fund allows students to focus solely on growing their own idea, exploring how their venture can make the greatest human, social or economic impact possible.
Funding Information Portal
The Funding Information Portal is a collection of databases and other resources selected to help UNC graduate students apply for funding opportunities.
The official Grants.gov app offers a convenient way for applicants to manage their Grants.gov applications and find new funding opportunities while on the go. Also, the site offers a community blog to help navigate the mobile app and the application process.
StartSomeGood is where people get together to change their world. The leading home of cause-driven crowdfunding, innovative partnerships, and social entrepreneur education.
Crowdfund innovations in tech and design before they go mainstream and support entrepreneurs that are working to bring their dreams to life.
Generate more revenue for your cause and delight your bidders with Handbid’s mobile bidding silent auction software with apps for iOS, Android, and the web.
DonorsChoose connects teachers in high-need communities with donors who want to help.
Kickstarter campaigns make ideas into reality. It’s where creators share new visions for creative work with the communities that will come together to fund them.
Donate Kindly is a free donation tool that is simple to set up and add to your organization’s website. Start accepting donations for free in less than 15 minutes.
CauseVox is an online fundraising platform for nonprofits.
GoFundMe Charity is a subscription free fundraising platform with powerful tools to make fundraising easy for charities.
Intercom makes customer messaging products for sales, marketing, and support teams, connected on one platform.
RISE: Double Bottom Line Investor Directory
This directory, maintained by the RISE Project at Columbia Business School, includes information about institutional investors that invest through equity vehicles in for profit ventures with the aim of achieving social or environmental impacts.
Foundation Directory Online Professional
This is the largest database for non-profit and social enterprise funding. You can access this through UNC Libraries.
Acumen Fund is a non-profit global venture fund that supports entrepreneurial approaches to solving the problems of health, housing, and water.
Community Development Venture Capital Alliance
Community Development Venture Capital Alliance (CDVCA) promotes use of the tools of venture capital to create jobs, entrepreneurial capacity and wealth in advancing the livelihoods of low-income people and the economies of distressed communities.
New Profit Inc.
New Profit Inc. (“NPI”) is a non-profit venture philanthropy fund that backs breakthrough social entrepreneurs who are advancing equity and opportunity in America.
Robert Enterprise Development Fund
The Roberts Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) REDF uses a social venture capital approach to support social purpose enterprise development. Visit their website for publications, job listings and FAQ.
The Calvert Foundation invests in revenue-generating ventures that combine public and social good with positive financial results. The exclusive focus of this program is affordable-rate loans, not grants.
Partners for the Common Good
Partners for the Common Good (PCG) is a non-profit, community investment fund that provides access to capital to community based organizations building strong and healthy communities.