Student Social Enterprise Track: FAQs
- Who is eligible to enter the competition?
- I am from another program (e.g., Kennedy School, Law School, MIT) but would like to take part. What should I do?
- How will I get information during the rest of the year?
- What other assistance is available?
- How can I protect the confidentiality of intellectual property?
- What are the prizes?
- Who are the judges? What are their backgrounds?
- How can I find other members for a team?
Who is eligible to enter the competition?
Please see Eligibility to learn more about team requirements.
I am from another program (e.g., Kennedy School, Law School, MIT) but would like to take part. What should I do?
Within the Social Enterprise Track, Reynolds Foundation Fellows and Harvard graduate students currently enrolled in eligible courses may also enter. Other degree candidate students outside of HBS would need to find a team organized by an eligible student to join. Please see "Building a Team" for more information.
How will I get information during the rest of the year?
Contestants should check the New Venture Competition: Student Social Enterprise Track website. In addition, information will be sent via e-mail to designated team leaders. Direct questions should be addressed to the Social Enterprise Initiative at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What other assistance is available?
The Social Enterprise Initiative sponsors the Social Entrepreneurship Workshop Series, which include "how to" seminars related to various aspects of business plan development. Though not required, we also suggest that 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.
How can I protect the confidentiality of intellectual property?
The HBS Honor Code applies to all participants of the New Venture Competition. If you feel that significant confidentiality issues will arise in the course of preparing your plan, you should have a thorough understanding worked out with your team members in advance. While every effort will be made to preserve the confidentiality of each submission, it is suggested that highly sensitive material be excluded from the entry if a team is concerned about the confidentiality of such material.
The only individuals who will have access to your business plans (in addition to the Review Committee which is comprised of faculty and staff) will be the judges who are assigned to read your plan. These judges are largely venture philanthropists who regularly deal with confidential information in the course of their work. We have asked them to treat your work product with the same care and respect for confidentiality. We also ask them to remove themselves from judging your plan if they do have a real conflict of interest. Feel free to mark your plan—or particular piece of it—as "confidential" and to request that the judges give you the hard copy of your plan back after you've completed your presentation. Note that the short description of your idea which you include with your entry form may be used in public documentation relating to the competition.
Note, however, that teams will be making final presentations to an open audience. Of course, technical drawings and formulae need not be shown at this presentation, or even included in the business plan. All reasonable measures to ensure the protection of intellectual property introduced and associated with the Competition will been taken. Harvard University, Harvard Business School, and the organizers of the New Venture Competition cannot take further responsibility to protect the intellectual property or other rights of the contestants. Protection of such rights is ultimately the responsibility of each Contestant. Contestants are urged to mark as "CONFIDENTIAL" any portion of their entries which they consider to be confidential.
What are the prizes?
Please see Awards for more information about prizes.
Who are the judges? What are their backgrounds?
Social Enterprise plans are judged by a mix of philanthropists, venture capitalists, and social entrepreneurs.
How can I find other members for a team?
If you would like to be included on a list of people who either have an idea and want teammates, or who want to enter the competition but want an idea, please see "Building a Team".