What is social entrepreneurship?
Social entrepreneurship is the process of pursuing innovative solutions to social problems. Social entrepreneurs adopt a mission to create and sustain social value. A social enterprise may be structured as a non-profit or for-profit business that achieves specific social objectives such as providing the services or products needed by the community (e.g. creating employment and education opportunities for the socially disadvantaged, affordable health diagnostic technology for vulnerable populations, and/or protecting the environment).

Do I need an idea for a social enterprise in order to enter the challenge?
No, you do not need an idea in order to apply. There will be a brainstorming activity to generate ideas during the event. However, well-researched ideas are highly encouraged to be a stronger candidate for the applicant selection process.

I don’t know a lot about business or social enterprise and I’m totally not confident in my skills or experience. Should I still apply?
Absolutely! If you have any interest in solving global problems through collaboration and creativity, then you definitely have something to contribute to the weekend. This event is also intended as a learning opportunity to help develop teamwork, leadership, problem-solving, and presentation skills, so don’t feel like you have to know everything and feel 100% confident before you get here. We’ll all be learning together.

Can I apply and work with a pre-formed team at the challenge event?
All pre-formed team members will need to apply individually, but may note in the registration form that they are part of a team. However, this does not guarantee that all members will be selected to participate in the challenge. All applicants should be prepared to commit to the full challenge and work with other participants if pre-formed team members are not selected. Other participants will be counting on your professionalism and integrity in order to produce an outstanding presentation.

If I have an idea, am I guaranteed to be able to work on it during the challenge?
No, you are not guaranteed to work on it during the challenge. Participants who bring ideas will need to present a 30 second elevator pitch to the other participants. Participants will then vote for their favorite ideas. Your idea may be selected if you receive a majority of the votes. You can increase the likelihood of your idea being chosen by developing an exciting and convincing pitch prior to the event. Note: All applicants should be prepared to commit to the full challenge even if their idea is not selected. Other participants will be counting on your professionalism and integrity in order to produce an outstanding presentation.

What if I don’t want to work on any of the ideas that are chosen?
All applicants should be prepared to commit to the full challenge even if they do not like the top ideas voted by participants. Your team will be counting on your professionalism and integrity in order to produce an outstanding presentation. Keep in mind that this event is not only about the idea, but an opportunity to learn from a set of knowledgeable mentors and work with a diverse set of skilled team members towards social good

I already have an idea for a social enterprise. Can I work on it during the competition?
Of course! This is the perfect time to have a chance to develop an idea that you have. You’ll have opportunities to gain expert feedback and advice in the form of mentors, judges, guest speakers, and team members, as well as other tools to help turn your idea into action.

May I work on an idea that is unrelated to social enterprise at the challenge?
No, the spirit of the challenge is to learn and work with others who are interested in innovating solutions for social impact

I’m a student at another university. Am I eligible to apply?
No, at this time the competition is open only to Brandeis students. However, if you have an interest in social entrepreneurship, we would be happy to have you visit the competition and/or volunteer in whatever way would support your interests and further engagement with the Heller-Brandeis social entrepreneurship community.

Will there be food?
Free and delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be served in the same building throughout the event…and caffeine. Lots and lots of caffeine.

Does this event cost me anything?
No, this event is sponsored by the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at no cost to the participant. All participants are expected to commit for the full 2.5 day challenge.