NYU/D-Prize Social Venture Competition

Get Involved

The NYU/D-Prize Social Venture Competition will challenge aspiring social entrepreneurs to create a new venture that innovatively distributes a proven intervention to alleviate poverty around the world. Winning ideas will have a proven intervention identified, a way to distribute that intervention to people who need it, and a plan to pilot and scale their vision. Read below for information on eligibility, steps to participate and judging criteria.

How To Participate

Step 1: Review the D-Prize Challenges & sign up for email updates. We have already identified several distribution challenges that stop sustainable and effective poverty interventions from reaching the people who could benefit from them. These challenges will give you a framework for designing your new social venture.

Step 2: Design your social venture. Choose the challenge that most inspires you, or propose your own. The NYU/D-Prize Round 1 Application Packet explains the competition rules, process, and instructions on how to draft and submit your proposal. Participate in four global webinars with students from all consortium institutions and refer to the guidance and tips listed in the support section of the Challenges section of this website.

Step 3: Write and submit your concept note by February 4, 2018. Refer to the NYU/D-Prize Round 1 Application Packet for guidelines and submission details. After reviewing the concept notes, judges will invite the most promising social entrepreneurs to submit a full ten-page proposal.

Step 4: Write and submit your proposal. Selected teams will write and submit a full ten-page proposal outlining the details of their social venture.

Step 5: Finalists interview. Selected finalists will interview with the judges. If a winner is selected, the venture will be awarded up to $15,000 to launch a pilot or improve an existing venture.

What happens when you win? You book a plane ticket, hire a staff, and launch your startup over the summer. You will spend the next three months using every last shred of ability and talent that you have to grow a new organization that will change the world.

For information about the competition schedule and deadlines, please refer to the timeline.


The NYU/D-Prize Social Venture Competition supported by the NYU Social Entrepreneurship Program and the NYU Office of Sustainability is open to graduate and undergraduate NYU students at all NYU global locations.

Students may apply as an individual or as part of a team. Those who apply as a team may work with students in any of the NYU global locations or others outside of NYU.

A currently enrolled NYU student must be the team leader in the application process and an equal partner or single leader in the new organization.

Students must be in good academic standing. Good academic standing is defined as having a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or greater. The competition staff reserve the right to disqualify any applicant who does not meet the minimum grade requirement and/or is ineligible to be enrolled at NYU as a result of a disciplinary action.

Judging Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated on the following:

  • Commitment and quality: you or your team must be passionate about development, have the skills to build a new organization from scratch or refine an existing one, and committed to expanding to a proven, effective, large-scale organization.
  • Quality and thoroughness of the social venture plan: good plans are tightly focused on solving one specific problem. Anyone reading your proposal should have a thorough understanding of exactly what your organization will do, and how you will do it.
  • Projected impact: We recognize that in many cases your pilot program may start small. It is our hope that the social venture will expand to help as many people as possible. We want to understand your plan to grow, and how you will measure your impact over time.
  • Feasibility of post-competition success: a good proposal doesn't end after three months. We want to see your vision for 6, 12, and 24 months out.

Ready to apply?

Review the challenges and support materials and download the NYU/D-Prize Round 1 Application Packet with instructions for submission. The first round deadline for entry is February 4, 2018.

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