In 2009, a student group on campus from business and peace schools had a creative, but somewhat risky idea: Why not award students who have great ideas to create solutions or opportunities for vulnerable populations? Within a year, this idea came to fruition in the form of the Social Innovation Challenge (SIC), and has awarded $84,000 to date in prize money to social venture models that can generate profits while also improving people and the planet. In the process, we believe, we move toward a more peaceful world.
If the past winners of the SIC have one thing in common, it is this: an ideademonstrating tremendous potential for improving lives or the environment. However, this does not happen by magic overnight! In 2011-12, the Center for Peace and Commerce—in partnership with the USD Changemaker Hub, under the capable leadership of Patricia Marquez and Nadia Auch—decided to provide support to students in order to assist them from the “imagination” stage all the way to successful completion—and the IdeaLab was born!