The Social Enterprise Track is open to students in good standing who are enrolled in a full-time graduate degree program at Harvard University. Each team must meet both of the two following qualifications:

  1. Include at least one person who meets one of the following criteria:
     
    • HBS MBA student
    • Current Center for Public Leadership Fellow
    • Full-time Harvard graduate student enrolled in one of the following courses during the academic year in which the Competition is held.
       
      Course Listing
      • Business at the Base of the Pyramid (at HBS)
      • Commercializing Science: Field Course (at HBS)
      • Design Thinking & Innovation (at HBS)
      • Educational Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship in Comparative Perspective (at HGSE)
      • Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Private and Social Sectors (at HKS)
      • Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovations in Education (at HBS)
      • Innovation in Business, Energy, and Environment: Field Project (at HBS)
      • Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship (at HLS)
      • Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Learning (at HGSE)
      • Managing Social Enterprise (at HBS)
      • Philanthropy and Public Problem Solving (at HKS)
      • Private Capital for Public Purpose (HKS)
      • Public Entrepreneurship (at HBS)
      • Social Entrepreneurship, Policy and Systems Change: How to Drive Significant Impact on Social Problems (at HKS)
      • Social Innovation Lab: Field Course (at HBS)

      • Harvard graduate students enrolled in other related Harvard graduate school courses may contact the Social Enterprise Initiative for a case-by-case review of the course to determine potential eligibility.
  2. Be composed of a majority of graduate students of Harvard University, and these members must have meaningful roles in the venture and the Competition presentation.
     

    It is recommended that students participate on only one team. Any students interested in participating on more than one team should contact the Social Enterprise Initiative before entering the Competition.

    RC teams (i.e. any team with a first-year, RC, student) may not enter the New Venture Competition with the same idea used for their Field III project.

Plan Requirements

The Social Enterprise Track seeks business plans that meet the following criteria:

  • A project which has as a key component of its activities the creation of social value in a significant and sustained manner.
  • The Competition is designed for projects that are in either the concept or pilot phase, meaning those that have not yet started regular operations and/or those that are testing initial concepts through basic pilot operations. Eligibility will be reviewed by the Review Committee based on the parameters outlined below and its decisions are final.
     
    • Revenues or donations since inception (either earned or contributed) are generally $25,000 or less
    • Operation began no earlier than February 1 of the year prior to the Competition
    • Full-time equivalent employee head count is no greater than 1.0
    • Project is a standalone effort and operates independently of existing organizations (including, but not limited to, resources, governance, management, staff, and infrastructure)
  • The project can be a nonprofit, for-profit or hybrid model.
  • The project can only be entered in one track of the New Venture Competition (e.g. Social Enterprise or Business).

Living within the Community Standards & Student Honor Code

Multiple students in multiple courses working on the same project naturally raises issues related to ownership of the work product and attribution of efforts for grading. While the business plan entry itself is not graded as part of the Competition, students are nonetheless directed to be sensitive to the issues raised by such projects. Specifically, if the business plan (or research products that underpin it) will be submitted to more than one faculty member as part of an HBS paper or project for credit, students must complete the form for “Required Disclosure Of Multiple Papers/Presentations” to the various faculty members involved. (This form is available in Spangler Center.) Note that any student projects and business plan submissions that are found to be in violation of these requirements will be disqualified from the Competition, and students may be subject to further disciplinary action, under the Community Standards.