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SVC2019 SVC2019 SVC2019 Social Venture Challenge Social Venture Challenge social Venture Challenge

Social Venture Challenge

The Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership is pleased to announce its 7th Annual Social Venture Challenge. Every spring, the Center sponsors this campus-wide challenge for Gordon student teams preparing to launch their own non-profit or business ventures. The winning teams pitch in front of experienced industry experts and split $10,000 in seed money to get started.

We want students to instigate their own impact in the world—to dream, imagine, and dare to create a venture that will make a difference.



You DO Need

You DO NOT Need

A team (i.e. one or more people)
An idea

A business major or expertise in business planning

Fully developed business plan



  • Weekly practical workshops: You have the idea, we provide the workshops you need to actually build your business or non-profit. Every week we offer workshops taught by local entrepreneurs who will give you the tools you need to make your idea a reality.
  • Real-world entrepreneurial mentors: Who better to learn from than entrepreneurs who have started their own businesses and non-profits? We will pair you up with a mentor who can act as a sounding board, resource, and champion for you.
  • Support & coaching: The CEL team is available every step of the way to help you network, brainstorm, and find resources.


There are many ways to be involved in Social Venture Challenge. This is an opportunity to get real-world experience regardless if you have an idea or not. You can sign up as a:

  • Team with an idea... only one person from the team needs to sign up for everyone. We recognize your venture idea may (and likely) will change and evolve as you go through this process. You may be as specific or broad about your idea as you like.
  • Have an idea but needing teammates... please tell us about your idea and specify what kind of help you are in need of in your registration.
  • An individual looking to join a team... you will have the opportunity to get to know various teams and either find one to join or act as a free agent offering a specific skill set to multiple teams (i.e. design skills, financial modeling, crafting a pitch). Please specify what skill sets you have to offer. 

If you are not participating in the Social Venture Challenge for credit, you only need to register using our registration form.
If you are interested in also participating in the Social Venture Challenge for credit, you must register both on our registration form and also register the class on your my.gordon class add/drop portal. 


Students now have the option to take Social Venture Challenge for credit. As a 2+ credit course, this is an opportunity to receive academic credit for the hard work put into launching a venture. All students taking the class for credit will compete in the Semi-Finals and receive 2 credits for Quad 3, regardless if they move on to finals. Students whose teams move on to compete in the Finals will receive extra credit (3 credits total) for Quad 4. Students are graded based on participation and idea validation, not on the quality of their idea or whether their team launches the venture. Please read through the SVC guidelines below for the requirements of taking SVC for credit.




Wednesday, January 15

SVC Registration Deadline

Wednesday, January 15 (6–9 p.m.)

Workshop: Idea Generation and Value Proposition

Wednesday, January 22 (6–9 p.m.)

Workshop: Customer Discovery and Market Research

Wednesday, January 29 (6–9 p.m.)

R&R (Review and Refinement) Workshop with Mentors

Wednesday, February 5 (6–9 p.m.)

Workshop: Business/Non-profit Model

Wednesday, February 12 (6–9 p.m.)

R&R Workshop with Mentors

Wednesday, February 19 (6–9 p.m.)

Workshop: Brand/Story/Messaging/Marketing

Wednesday, February 26 (6–9 p.m.)

R&R Workshop with Mentors

Wednesday, March 4 (6–9 p.m.)

Semi-Final Presentations

Wednesday, March 18 (TBD)

Mentor "Crucible" Meeting

Wednesday, March 25 (TBD)

Mentor Meeting

Wednesday, April 1 (TBD)

Finalist Workshop: Pitch Practice and Feedback

Wednesday, April 8 (TBD)

Finalist Workshop

Friday, April 17 (TBD)

Full Rehearsal

Saturday, April 18 (6–9 p.m.)

SVC Final Showcase



P 978.867.4140