The Rockefeller Foundation-Acumen Student Social Innovation Challenge 2019



Acumen is a global nonprofit that is changing the way the world tackles poverty. We invest in social entrepreneurs and we share our knowledge and insights to empower change agents around the world through Acumen Academy.

The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation advances new frontiers of science, data, policy and innovation to solve global challenges related to health, food, power and economic mobility. As a science-driven philanthropy focused on building collaborative relationships with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation seeks to inspire and foster large-scale human impact that promotes the well-being of humanity throughoutthe world by identifying and accelerating breakthrough solutions, ideas and conversations.

Develop innovative solutions to problems associated with poverty and pitch for a chance to win up to $20,000 plus an invite to a community of experienced entrepreneurs and investors to help you turn your idea into an impactful enterprise.

Acumen, with the support of the The Rockefeller Foundation, is equipping student innovators to solve problems associated with poverty through a global challenge platform. Student teams from around the world are coming together to explore areas of opportunity, develop ideas, and pitch for funding and mentorship.

In addition to supporting on campus competitions, Acumen and The Rockefeller Foundation are hosting a Virtual Challenge with the aim of inspiring and equipping students from all over the world with the skills and support to solve problems associated with poverty.

Phase 1 — All Participants: Register for Lean Startup and Submit Your Idea

  • Register for the Lean Startup online course before October 15, 2019
  • Complete the course and submit your social venture idea before November 26, 2019
  • Top teams will be invited to join the Student Social Enterprise Accelerator

Phase 2 — Finalists: Student Social Enterprise Accelerator

  • Our online Student Social Enterprise Accelerator will begin on January 27, 2020
  • Develop your idea with one-on-one coaching, peer mentoring, and case studies
  • Pitch your social venture to a panel of judges before March 13, 2020

Phase 3 — Winners: Receive Funding and Join the Community of Social Innovators

  • Winning teams will receive up to $20,000 from a funding pool of $100,000
  • Winners will also be invited to join Acumen’s Community of Social Innovators to receive ongoing support from a network of Acumen Fellows, social entrepreneurs, and change-makers

Winning teams of the Virtual Challenge are eligible to receive up to $20,000 in funding per team. The total prize pool for the Virtual Challenge is $200,000. We anticipate distributing $100,000 in funding in the Fall Virtual Challenge, and $100,000 in the Spring Virtual Challenge.

Each on-campus competition has a different prize strategy. We encourage you to first find if your campus qualifies for an on-campus competition by checking on our website. You will then be directed to the relevant competition website for more information.

Closing date: 15 October 2019

Apply here!