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 competition details. See Information for Participating Teams
  2. Review eligibility requirements.
  3. Build Your Team. Whether you have an idea or have skills to bring to an idea, attend the NVC Kickoff in the fall and stay tuned for a team building spreadsheet.
  4. Enter the Competition through the competition website
  5. 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.
  6. Attend the Finale. Celebrate the journey and hear the winning pitches. Network with students, alumni, and judges at the Finale celebration.

Tough Tech Prize

The Rock Center in collaboration with the HBS Digital, Health Care, and Business and Environment Initiatives, offers the Tough Technology Prize for HBS New Venture Competition. Through our collective efforts, we want to recognize (co)founders where the venture has challenging proof-points of development typical of tough technology ventures.

Tough Tech ventures are those working on transformative technology that solves the world's most important challenges through the convergence of breakthrough science, engineering, and leadership. It can also be thought of as being a breakthrough idea in which founders and investors are not likely to realize an early profit.

If you believe that your venture is eligible to be considered for the Tough Tech Prize, then you can apply for it while registering for NVC. You will find an option to self-select your venture for this prize in the registration form.

Upcoming Events & Deadlines

  • Feb02
    • 02 Feb 2022
    • Both Tracks

    Final Application Deadline

    Final deadline to apply for either track of the NVC. SE Track Executive Summaries due.
  • Feb18
    • 18 Feb 2022
    • Social Enterprise Track

    SE Track Semifinalist Teams Announced

    All teams will receive feedback from preliminary round, and 16 semifinalist teams will be announced.
  • Feb28
    • 28 Feb 2022
    • Both Tracks

    Confirmation of Super Saturday Pitching

    Final confirmation that your team will present on Super Saturday.

  Full Calendar

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.

Frequently Asked Questions