In 1978, Cliff Ensley ’69, ’70, G’71 had an idea to start his own business and just $2,500 to do it. He was used to taking on challenges—there was no stopping him. Growing up, he struggled with a learning disability—at…
$5,000 Impact Prize for Social Entrepreneurship Debuts this Fall
A new Impact Prize initiative is launching at the University. The program will support student entrepreneur teams that devise innovative and implementable solutions to economic or social problems, or civic challenges. Coordinated by the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University, the Impact Prize is supported through a gift to SU Libraries from Gisela M. von Dran, director emerita of the iSchool’s MSLIS program.
The Impact Prize consists of two components: an Impact Generator workshop series, and an Impact Prize Competition. The challenge is open to graduate and undergraduate Syracuse University students from all academic areas.
The Impact Prize kicks off with an event at 3 p.m. on Sept. 22 in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons, 114 Bird Library. The event will feature an overview of the program and remarks by von Dran. It will also open the online application process, which runs through Oct. 27. Twelve teams from across campus will be selected to pitch at a Nov. 14 competition as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, and vie for $5,000 in awards to be allocated to the most promising, feasible solutions.
To jumpstart creative thinking about pressing social entrepreneurship challenges, Impact Generator workshops will be held on Sept. 28-29 and Oct. 5-6 at Bird Library. The goal of the workshops is to inspire students to think about big challenges in these areas, understand emerging issues and trends, and begin to brainstorm ideas for solutions. These interactive sessions will be led by local nonprofit leaders who are change-makers in:
- energy, the environment and sustainable solutions
- arts, culture and education
- community revitalization, poverty and empowerment
- healthcare, nutrition and human services
The Impact Prize is not limited to the categories covered in the workshops, but is an open call for products, services or technologies that can become practical and sustainable solutions to pressing global or local societal challenges.
Von Dran has a special interest in entrepreneurship. Before joining the iSchool, she served as an assistant professor of management at the Whitman School of Management. She is the widow of Raymond von Dran, who was dean of the iSchool from 1995 until his death in 2007. Shortly after, Gisela established the Raymond F. von Dran Fund at Syracuse University, and directed that fund to support the RvD initiative which funds the iPrize student entrepreneurship competition each spring. The new Impact Prize competition will serve as a gateway to the annual iPrize competition, as well as other global social entrepreneurship competitions on the Syracuse University campus, such as the Hult Prize.
The Impact Prize initiative is being managed by the first Blackstone LaunchPad Engagement Scholar, Kennedy Patlan ’18, a triple major in advertising, citizenship and civic engagement, and women’s and gender studies in the Newhouse School, the Maxwell School and the College of Arts and Science, respectively. The Engagement Scholar position was created as a part of the LaunchPad’s goal to grow social enterprise ventures across the campus innovation ecosystem.
For more information, see http://launchpad.syr.edu/impact/.