The Social Enterprise Track provides an opportunity for eligible graduate students across Harvard University to explore social entrepreneurship and test ideas for social innovation in a rigorous and supportive environment. Social Enterprise Track entries may include nonprofit, for-profit, and hybrid model business plans.


How to Apply

  1. Review Information for Participating Teams. Review eligibility requirements and download the Details for Participating Teams document
  2. Build Your Team. Whether you have an idea or have skills to bring to an idea, visit the teams section of our website to connect with others. 
  3. Enter the Competition. Apply online through the Competition website.
  4. Develop Your Idea. Over the course of the Competition, students have the opportunity to develop their own skills as well as strengthen their venture through workshops, feedback from expert judges on written work and presentations, and multi-disciplinary collaboration. See the SE Tools section for online resources and information and the Calendar for upcoming events.
  5. Attend the Finale. Celebrate the journey and hear the winning pitches. Network with students, alumni, and judges at the Finale celebration.

Upcoming Events & Deadlines

  • Feb01
    • 01 Feb 2017
    • Both Tracks
    • Deadline

    Early-Registration Deadline

    Register by 12:00 noon to be eligible to receive reimbursements for approved expenses. 

    • 13 Feb 2017
    • Social Enterprise Track
    • Event

    Workshop: Developing an Effective Social Enterprise Business Plan

    Excited about launching a social venture but not quite sure how to tackle writing a social impact business plan? This workshop, led by the HBS Social Enterprise Initiative and Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, will provide an introduction of key elements of a social enterprise business plan and approaches on how to build your venture. Sponsored by the HBS Social Enterprise Initiative to support the HBS New Venture Competition, and open to all students with an interest in creating social ventures.

    • 22 Feb 2017
    • Social Enterprise Track
    • Event

    Workshop: Legal Aspects of Starting a Social Enterprise

    Experts from Foley Hoag LLP will address high level issues that business plan entrants might have, including: choice of business entity to achieve their organizational goals relative to social and economic intended impact, structuring and negotiating funding, intellectual property protection, agreements among founders, employment law, and practical advice for starting a business. Sponsored by the HBS Social Enterprise Initiative to support the HBS New Venture Competition, and open to all students with an interest in creating social ventures.

  Full Calendar


Most Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for the student competition?

For the Social Enterprise Track, teams must meet the two following criteria: 1) include at least one student who meets one of the criteria listed on our eligibility page; 2) be composed of a majority of Harvard University graduate students, and these members must have meaningful roles in the venture and the Competition presentation.

How can I find teammates?

Both tracks hold Team Building Mixers in the fall. Additionally, see: Social Enterprise Track Teams page.

What are the advantages of registering early?

Social Enterprise will run a Workshop/Speaker series which will include "how to" seminars related to various aspects of business plan development, networking opportunities to speak with other entrepreneurs, and forums in which to test early new venture concepts and receive feedback. See the Calendar page for the full schedules. Participants can also visit the Social Enterprise Tools page to see additional track specific resources. Though not required, we also suggest that Social Enterprise Track teams participate in the Pitch for Change at the annual student-led Social Enterprise Conference, for practice and feedback at an important stage of the business plan process.

Who are the judges? What are their backgrounds?

Social Enterprise track judges will be drawn from a variety of backgrounds representing a range of industries, including those from funding organizations (including impact investors, philanthropists, and venture philanthropists), capacity building organizations, and social entrepreneurs.

 More FAQs