Registration Closes Feb. 16 for University of San Diego Social Innovation Challenge

The Fifth Annual San Diego Social Innovation Challenge is underway with the deadline for submissions on Feb. 16.

The University of San Diego’s Center for Peace and Commerce is excited to once again offer the Social Innovation Challenge (SIC) and invite full-time undergraduate and graduate students from the University of San Diego and throughout San Diego County to enter for the chance to win seed funding for their social ventures. Complete eligibility details are available at

Since its inception in 2010, the Social Innovation Challenge has awarded more than $150,000 to students with innovative ideas to change the world and make a positive impact on the 4Ps: people, planet, profit and peace.

The 2015 challenge provides an opportunity for students to vie for award money totaling $75,000, provided in part by a generous grant from the Moxie Foundation. A minimum of $40,000 will be awarded to University of San Diego students in the “USD Track” and up to $35,000 will be awarded to non-USD students in the “San Diego Track.”

In 2014, the SIC introduced creative proposals including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education for underrepresented students, waste reduction systems, human rights abuse tracking in Mexico, and economic empowerment for refugees.

The 2014 “San Diego Track” winner Matt Wayne created Art Without a Roof, a socially conscious apparel company that features artwork produced by homeless youth and returns part of the profit to homeless education opportunities. (Go to for details.)

The SIC helps develop student proposals through a step-by-step process that includes workshops, coaching, and mentoring. All students are invited to participate in the Idea Labs workshop series to help create and refine their idea. The SIC includes three rounds of judging. Students who advance to the semi-final round will receive coaching from experts from the social impact sector.

Those who make it to the 3rd and final round will be paired with mentors, and those who win funding will receive ongoing mentoring during the first six months of their venture development.

“For us, the learning process for the students who participate in the Social Innovation Challenge is just as important as investing financially in their social ventures. So we provide great resources to walk alongside the students and help them make their ideas a reality,” said Grace Michel, Interim Assistant Director of the Center for Peace and Commerce.

These benefits make the SIC a significant learning experience for students and a tremendous opportunity for them to create the change they want to see in the world.

To learn more, go to Students must apply by Feb. 16. Finalists will pitch their projects to judges on April 28 and awards will be announced at a public ceremony at the University of San Diego on May 1. For more information about the SIC contact Grace Michel at or (619)260-4857.



About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 9,000 students from 69 countries and 50 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. The university's eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD's Envisioning 2024 strategic plan capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.


Tom Cleary
(619) 260-4297