Building a network of impact entrepreneurs with world-changing ideas
Too many exceptional people and ideas are left on the sidelines of traditional venture capital funding. The Impact Ventures Competition is here to change that. Through the four-week program, entrepreneurs will compete to level up their impact venture and entrepreneurial skills. Participants will receive constructive feedback, strengthen their ideas, and compete to win USD $50,000.
Who Can Participate
We are looking for entrepreneurs who can get things done, have an idea to create social impact at scale, and are willing to grow.
We are looking for entrepreneurs who deeply understand a societal problem and have a burning passion to solve it, have the ability to both dream big and work hard, and seek out feedback in order to learn and grow. We welcome individuals who might not have a degree, a strong network, domain expertise, or don’t match the demographic norms of a “typical” venture-funded founder.
- Open to entrepreneurs globally ages 18+ with at least one founding member that speaks and writes in English
- Ventures can be at any early stage, in any industry
- Ventures must exist to solve a widespread societal challenge and work towards at least one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals
- Ventures must have the ability to benefit people beyond a single community or environment
How Does the Competition Work?
Applicants should apply for the competition through the sign-up form. The application closes on Oct 14th at 11:59pm ET.
During each week of the competition, participants will submit deliverables, which can take the form of text, decks, or videos.
In addition to submitting deliverables, applicants will also participate in a peer review process where they provide and receive constructive feedback on other participants’ ventures. Participants will be placed into different tracks, so you will never be reviewing or receiving feedback from those with whom you are directly competing. All participants must provide peer review feedback before unlocking the next week’s challenge.
More details on the timeline of the program:
Why This Problem?
Main Challenge: Share your passion and knowledge of the problem
Who are your users?
Main Challenge: Explain and improve your user understanding
What is your offering?
Main Challenge: Show or describe your solution
What is your growth plan?
Main Challenge: Share and refine your growth strategy
Two grand prize winners will be selected for the competition pilot. The winning entrepreneurs will each receive USD $50,000 in funding to support their ventures.
What Value Do Entrepreneurs Gain From Participating in the Competition?
A 4-Week Core Curriculum designed to show you the ropes of building a business. Through rapid rounds of deliverable submission and peer feedback, you will gradually build components of a business plan and pitch deck, as well as new skills and confidence.
Rich, Structured Feedback on your work every week. The rapid feedback loop will help you continuously pressure-test your ideas and refine your story.
A Community of Impact-Driven Entrepreneurs who dream big and get things done, just like you.
Is the competition a full-time commitment?
No. The Competition should take around 2-3 hrs each week to complete. Each part of the curriculum can be completed at the participant’s own pace, as long as they submit deliverables on time every week.
What are applicants evaluated on?
Participants are evaluated using the following criteria:
- Responsive: Do you respond productively to feedback?
- Analytical: Do you thoughtfully research your responses?
- Persistent: Do you work to overcome obstacles?
- Impactful: Do you focus on creating impact?
- Demonstrative: Have you proven ability to execute?
How are the winners selected?
Winners will be selected at the end of the four-week competition by our team based upon their cumulative peer evaluation score, quality of feedback to peers, expert review. For more information, please review the Competition Rules.
Do I need to have a ready-made pitch to compete in this competition?
No, you do not need to have a pitch or pitch deck prepared to qualify for the program. Over the entire competition process, you are building tools to grow your venture that also could help you when you eventually pitch to investors in the social impact space.
Can I change my idea over the course of the program?
The competition process will be most beneficial if you stay committed to one venture idea through the whole competition cycle. This will allow you to receive consistent, cumulative feedback. As you learn and receive feedback, you may improve or choose to pivot your idea. If you choose to pivot, be sure to articulate your rationale and use research and feedback to support the decision. You may modify and resubmit any deliverables as long as they have not yet gone through peer reviews.
Beyond funding for winners, are there rewards for finalists or other participants?
Yes! Winners and a select group of finalists will be given access to several benefits. Possible benefits may include the following:
- AWS Activate credits and Business Support
- IBM Cloud credits
- Hubspot for Start-ups discounts
- Twilio credits
- Stripe discounts
- Segment credits and more
Additionally, qualified participants will be invited to join a community of entrepreneurs.
Why do you use peer review?
We’ve found that peers are often able to evaluate each other as well as—if not better than—professional reviewers on personal attributes. By leveraging the power of the community, we can help ensure that participants are evaluated by people who truly understand their experiences and where they are coming from.
We also use peer review to help reduce biases that are traditionally found in venture capital investing. We recognize that no one—peer or expert—is immune from personal bias, so we use data analysis to help improve the reliability of peer review scoring. We do this to help ensure that all participants are competing on a level playing field.
How many peer submissions does each applicant need to review?
Each participant will review three of their peers’ submissions by answering select questions each week.
What if someone reviews unfairly, or gives another person low scores to make themselves look better?
Participants are placed into tracks during the competition and will only give feedback about people in different tracks. Therefore, participants will never be directly competing with applicants they are providing feedback on. Additionally, we take measures to help improve the reliability of peer review scoring, as noted above.
We ask that participants review one another with integrity. We are looking out for reviews that unfairly or negatively target other participants. Please review others honestly and fairly.
I have a disability that I’m worried will prevent me from competing. Can I still apply?
Definitely! We use a platform provided by Skild.com to provide the competition site. The Skild Accessibility Statement can be viewed here. If you notice aspects of the site that aren’t working for you or your assistive technology, or you have any other concerns, please contact us at email@example.com
Who can I contact for additional questions?
For any additional questions please email: firstname.lastname@example.org