How to Participate as an Institution

The Global Social Innovation Challenge (GSIC) 2019 is open to all degree and diploma-granting post-secondary education institutions such as colleges/universities located anywhere in the world that register for GSIC participation by November 15, 2018.

Each participating institute will receive full support from the Center for Peace and Commerce (CPC) to run the first two (of the three) stages of the challenge on their own campus, and will be able to nominate up to two finalist teams to participate in the third stage (the global final) that CPC will host in San Diego, California on June 14-16, 2019. Institutions will align their local challenge branding with the GSIC by using the resources provided by the CPC at the University of San Diego.

person talking on stage
"This was a fantastic experience for our students. They gained incredible knowledge through the various stages of the competition, worked together in groups, and developed fantastic concepts extremely pertinent to sustainable development."
—2018 faculty participant

University/College Registration:

July 1, 2018 to November 15, 2018
Participating universities / colleges register their participation by November 15, 2018 and pay the registration fee by December 15, 2018.


Competitive Submissions/Pitching for Student Participants:

February 27, 2019
Round 1 Submissions ("The Problem") are due

April 25, 2019
Round 2 Submissions ("The Solution") are due

June 7, 2019
Round 3 Pitch Decks are due a week before the pitching date

June 14-16, 2019
Finalist students pitch their proposed innovative solutions (in-person or virtually) at the GSIC 2019 Final in San Diego, California, USA.

The GSIC is an opportunity for students to turn their ideas for sustainable social or environmental impact into reality via resources, mentorship and a chance to secure seed funding.

Participants are asked to select a social or environmental issue of their choice, and work through the following stages:

  1. Study the existing landscape of the problem to discover gaps in existing solutions and identify levers of change.
  2. Develop a business plan around an innovative solution that addresses these gaps.
  3. Pitch the proposed solution for a chance to obtain seed funding and other resources at the global final.

Participating universities/colleges:

  • Register their GSIC participation by November 15, 2018 and pay the registration fee by December 15, 2018.
  • Leverage online platform and other resources made available by CPC (as the university sees fit) to encourage and support student participation in the challenge through workshops, DIY resources, mentorship and other guidance.
  • Run the first two rounds of the challenge and nominate up to two finalist teams that get to represent the university at the global final in San Diego, California, and pitch (in-person or virtually to a panel of judges for up to $50,000+ in seed funding and other resources.

GSIC is also an emerging platform for students to build and connect with a community of like-minded individuals and organizations from around the world who are passionate about creating positive change in the world.

Round 1

Student-led teams "apprentice with" a social or environmental issue of their choice, and produce a visual map/chart/infographic and an executive summary of the issue that demonstrates their understanding of this issue.

Round 1 Submission has three components:

  1. A visual map, chart or infographic that visually showcases a deep and nuanced understanding of the specific social or environmental issue studied by the student(s). This document should cover the problem and its causes, examine the current solution pool and players, identify gaps in the current service provision, and highlight where opportunities for change may lie. Excellent submissions usually address a narrow enough issue to demonstrate thorough analysis and give deliberate thought to the specific community, customer or client that will be the key beneficiary of the solution to be developed in Round 2.
  2. An executive summary that explains the challenge (maximum 2,000 words). This summary should work as an aid to the visual map, and help the viewer interpret the main components: the problem landscape, the existing solutions landscape and the current gaps and opportunities.
  3. A bibliography of all the sources cited in the executive summary or the visual map.

Additional Resources:

Round 2

Student-led semi-finalist teams craft an innovative solution to their chosen problem or issue, and demonstrate this proposed solution's impact, feasibility, sustainability, scalability or replicability, as well as its acceptability or desirability to the community or target population.

Round 2 Submission has two components:

  • A completed Social Business Model Canvas with descriptive questions answered.
  • A 2-minute Video explaining the social innovation.

Additional Resources:

Round 3

Up to two finalist teams from each participating college/university can advance to the global final. Pitch decks are due one week before the final pitch in June 2019. Student finalists can pitch in person in San Diego, California, USA, or virtually over the internet. Finalists must also demonstrate well-defined next steps, a realistic implementation plan and their team’s commitment to implementing the venture.

Round 3 Submission has three components:

  1. Long Pitch: 10-minute pitch, delivered (virtually on in-person) to a panel of judges by at least one member of the finalist team.
  2. Fast Pitch: 90-second pitch, delivered on the main stage by the shortlisted finalist teams prior to the awards announcement.
  3. An accompanying Pitch Deck: Only for the 10-minute pitch, no slides used/needed for the 90-second pitch.

Additional Resources:

1 This methodology was originally developed as part of Map the System, a challenge run by the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, in partnership with educational institutions across the world. For more information, visit

Round 1 Submission Examples

Round 1 of the GSIC requires students to analyze the problem that they are trying to solve, and map the current problem and solution landscapes prior to proposing a solution. 2

See examples of Executive Summaries from Round 1:

See examples of Infographics from Round 1:

Round 2 Submission Examples

Round 2 of the GSIC requires students to propose a solution to their problem. Using the Social Business Model Canvas, students will create a roadmap to outline the steps they will take to turn their idea into a viable solution. 

See examples of roadmaps from Round 2:

See examples of videos from Round 2:

Round 3 Pitches

2018 Global Social Innovation Challenge Final

2 "Mapping the system" as a first step for social entrepreneurship began as part of the "Map the System" hosted by the Skoll Center for Social Entrepreneurship at the Said Business School at the University of Oxford (

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why a Global Social Innovation Challenge (GSIC)?
  • How does the Center for Peace and Commerce define Social Innovation?
  • What are the requirements for students' topic selection?
  • What are the prizes?
  • Who is eligible to participate?
  • What are the team size requirements?
  • How about teams made up of members from multiple participating institutions?
  • What material and guidance will my college/university receive from the CPC?
  • What is the cost to participate?
  • Should we sign up as an individual college or as an entire university?