Sustainable Urban Housing Competition Launched

Our friends over at Ashoka continue to move social enterprise forward by supporting Changemakers globally. Partnering with the government and some other non-profits, they have launched a sustainable housing competition focused on dealing with current and coming urban housing challenges. If one looks at the size of cities such as Mexico City, Karachi, Mumbai, and then considers the continued movement of people to urban areas over the next  decades, sustainable housing becomes a clear and present challenge that will deeply influence quality of life (from health and economics to culture and education). From

Ashoka’s Changemakers is looking for innovative solutions that engage communities, entrepreneurs, and key institutions in collaborating to integrate and develop affordable, inclusive, and sustainable urban housing that respects the environment, local cultures, and practices.

This competition is being launched in anticipation of the 2012 Summit of the Americas, and in support of U.S. President Barack Obama’s Energy and Climate Partnership for the Americas (ECPA). It is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, and is a joint effort of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of State, and the American Planning Association.

The competition launches on November 5, 2010. Submit your solutions, or nominate a project, in this competition to collaborate on sustainable urban housing for liveable and inclusive cities.

From November 5 through February 2, 2011, you can nominate or submit a solution for sustainable urban housing.

Here is the contest website.


via Sustainable Urban Housing: Collaborating for Liveable and Inclusive Cities | Changemakers.

Startup Scramble DC University Challenge

Found out about this great opportunity from some of the people working on social entrepreneurship at GMU and Ashoka (read about the Campus Changemakers program at GMU here). The StartUp Scramble D.C. University Challenge takes place Jan 29th- 31st. According to the event site, “Entrepreneurial college students together in a weekend-long start-up event, work to pitch, plan, and launch sustainable ventures to improve society, which they will lead over the next year and beyond. ”

There will be great speakers, working sessions, and a pitch contest and it will likely be a pretty intense entrepreneurial experience as the participants look to get something on the up and running and making a social impact within a year. Winners receive funding and incubation services. Great networking is likely to take place. Looking forward to learning more and seeing what comes out of this.

MTVU’s Social Entrepreneurship Contest Is Open

mtvU has opened a new social entrepreneurship (or social innovation) contest targeting college aged moverschangersstudents. Some of the finalist will be featured on a new show on mtvU called “Movers and Changers”. Grand prize is $25,000 for the winning venture and a chance to ring the opening bell at the NYSE. Three finalist will fly to NY and present to leading social entrepreneurs including Blake Mycoskie, Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS SHOES.

From their press release:

“Movers & Changers” calls on 16-28 year old college students, individually or in teams of up to three people, to develop and produce a compelling business proposal to revolutionize the future of the world’s social market.  Ideas must be creative, original, and scalable to large corporations, in addition to illustrating determination and persistent optimism.  Students can submit entries online at and are encouraged to submit a video “elevator pitch” application beginning at noon on August 17, 2009 through midnight on October 16, 2009.

The competition will culminate at NYSE Euronext’s Global Entrepreneurship Week: Mentoring Madness, where students from around the world will gather with business leaders and hear leading entrepreneurs talk frankly about how young people can create their own futures.  The top three “Movers & Changers” teams or individuals will fly to New York City for “Mentoring Madness,” to network and connect with prominent business leaders and present their pitches to the NYSE “Movers & Changers” Board.

I love what is happening with growth of social entrepreneurship in and around college campuses and look forward to seeing what some of the entries are. Nice work my MTV & Viacom on this one.

As some of you may know, my company, Family Fantasy Sports, is a social venture focused on higher education funding and I was named a Campus Fellow at George Mason University (GMU) during its participation is Ashoka’s Campus Changemakers Program. I was also lucky enough to participate in a semester long Social Entreperneurship Seminar with Phil Auerswald at Mason’s School of Public Policy (SPP).

So get out there, take advantage of this opportunity to get involved in changing the world. Use this exercise to ask questions, sharpen your ideas, play with YouTube, and look into all the challenges that surround launching a new venture, social or otherwise.

Ashoka Changemaker Campuses Commencement

This April 24th, the Ashoka Changemaker Campus Program will complete its pilot year. Participating schools were GMU, University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins, and Cornell. I will be attending the event as a “Mason Changemaker Campus Fellow” for my work with Family Fantasy Sports and college savings awards and education.

The event will take place in the Hopkins’ SAIS building and will feature Ashoka founder Bill Drayton and other social entrepreneurship luminaries. I am looking forward to the event.

BTW, the Mason Changemaker Team has made huge strides this past year. Currently, the Mason Nation is considering making social entrepreneurship part of the schools 5 year accreditation plan — the Quality Enhancement Plan. For those who know higher ed policy making administration, and accreditation, this is a big deal.

You can read the full plan here, the title is: “Social Innovators and Social Entrepreneurs: 21st Century Leaders of Change”. Here is a synopsis, Continue reading “Ashoka Changemaker Campuses Commencement”

Sparkseed: Funding for College Social Entrepreneurs is taking applications from 1st and 2nd year undergraduates interested in launching social ventures. The deadline is March 1, but the application is not too long, so if you have been thinking about something, take a shot. In addition to funding, participants received mentoring, training, and other support during the 2 year program.

This ‘micro’ model of financing social ventures is attractive in my mind and allows many new firms and social entrepreneurs a chance to test their assumptions and products/services. itself is a hotbed of social innovators and they claim to have helped launch 23 social ventures thus far. In a way, this is like an Ashoka focusing on collegiate social entrepreneurs. Cool stuff. Check it out and get involved.

Social Entrepreneurship Grows @ UMD and Case-Western

U of Maryland is taking part in Ashoka’s Changemaker Campus program (GMU is one of the pilot schools also) and here is a nice update by Ann Kowalcsyk on what the students/faculty/administrators are doing there. They are clearly changing the landscape at the Smith School of Business.

Over at Case-Western Reserve University, the School of Management has received a $7.5 million gift to support sustainable business and social entrepreneurship. Article from Crain’s Cleveland Business.

Are these schools taking an early lead in social entrepreneurship? Is there something here or are they just cashing in on a ‘hot field’?

2 Part Interview with Social Entre Author David Bornstein

Bornstein’s book, How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of Ideas, was used often in my class on social entrepreneurship at GMU’s School of Public Policy. Here is a two part interview with Bornstein from — part 1, part 2. Bornstein explains to motivation of entrepreneurs and many other important topics. As we often highlight, the entrepreneur is driven to create. From part 1 of the interview:

The first one is a global misperception, which is that entrepreneurs only start businesses, and that the basic motivation behind the entrepreneur is the desire for wealth – personal wealth. There’s lots of research to show and I can speak from my own experience that that’s not the case. In fact, entrepreneurs are primarily motivated by the desire to build something. To see their ideas come to life.

Worth reading these interviews.

WaPo on Social Entrepreneurship: Love.Futbol

WaPo writer Ian Shapira has a nice piece on Millenials and social entrepreneurship. The article offers some statistics inferring that Millenials are more interested in social ventures than previous generations and highlights 25 year old Drew Chafetz of DC who launched a social venture called Love.Futbol.

The mission of Love.Futbol is to build soccer fields in impoverished parts of the world so that kids can play somewhere clean and safe. So far they have built three fields.

From the story:

Chafetz hatched the idea for love.fútbol in Morocco, on vacation during college, where he saw children in the central part of the country kicking a soccer ball in a dangerous alley. After graduation, he and a friend named Alfredo Axtmayer launched the project in Guatemala, where they had a well-connected friend. Chafetz said his well-off upbringing has spurred him on: So far, love.fútbol has helped build three fields, at a cost of $5,000 each in raw materials, in three rural communities. Chafetz and his team provide guidance and seed money, but each town volunteers labor to construct the fields. He hopes the model can be replicated in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa.

The venture has been supported largely by friends and members of District Sports, a recreational adult sports league; grants from organizations such as the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation; and fundraisers at bars in Washington, Boston and New York.

Ashoka Chooses GMU as Changemaker Campus

The Ashoka Foundation has chosen George Mason University and 3 other schools for their Changemaker Campus program.

This pilot program’s goal is to bring social entrepreneurship to the students, faculty, and administrators on the participating campuses. Read about the Change Maker Campus initiative here. From Ashoka’s website,

Over the course of the next year, we aim to bring students and faculty together with practitioners, thought leaders, and philanthropists to create new and effective partnerships for sustainable social change.

We’ll carefully monitor and evaluate what happens along the way, identifying the precise outcomes and impact of the program and the innovative teaching and partnerships it spurs. Apart from the impact at each partner university, the program is thus meant to capture the how-to strategies and best practices for effecting deep, lasting, and campus-wide social change.

There will be two meetings this week for GMU students, faculty, and staff to check out.