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Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition, University of Washington, USA

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The Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition (GSEC) is a leading-edge international social venture plan competition, where interdisciplinary student teams from around the world propose creative, commercially viable businesses aimed at reducing poverty in the developing world.

Each year, GSEC brings the world to UW: a select group of semi-finalist student teams from around the globe are invited to Seattle for GSEC Week. Teams visit regional companies, present their business ideas to judges, and compete for up to US$30,000 in prizes that go to the most innovative social business ideas targeting poverty alleviation in developing economies.

Each year more than 150 professionals provide invaluable expertise and resources as mentors, judges, and sponsors. We welcome this essential support, from individuals at organizations like Costco, Gray Ghost Ventures, Microsoft, PATH, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Smith Barney, Seattle International Foundation, the Grameen Foundation, and the Washington Global Health Alliance.

GSEC business plans are evaluated on three criteria: (1) effect on the quality of life and poverty alleviation in one or more developing economies; (2) financial sustainability; (3) feasibility of implementation.

Eligibility – Overview
  • GSEC seeks the most innovative, student-generated social business plans that aim to alleviate a problem(s) of poverty in developing economies.*
  • GSEC is open to currently enrolled students, in any discipline and level of study, at any academic institution of higher education worldwide.
  • Multi-disciplinary teams are strongly encouraged and teams may be comprised of students from difference academic institutions.
  • GSEC business plans may focus on any subject area
  • Plans must clearly demonstrate the Social Return on Investment (SROI) and provide a social impact assessment.
  • All applicants must review the detailed GSEC Rules & Eligibility and the Submission Requirements prior to applying.
How to Apply
1. Review the GSEC Rules & Eligibility and the Submission Requirements prior to applying
2. Apply online by November 09, 2011 (8 am Pacific Standard Time). Applications will be available starting July 25, 2011

Application Review and Team Selection
GSEC applications go through two rounds of reviews between November-December 2011 to determine the semi-finalist GSEC teams. Semi-finalist teams are selected and paired with mentors in mid-December. All Semi-finalist teams travel to Seattle for GSEC Week, February 27 – March 2, 2012, at the University of Washington (UW).

GSEC prizes are awarded to the most innovative business plans that meet the GSEC judging criteria and demonstrate the best integration of financial and social returns on investment. Review the GSEC Rules & Eligibility for details and eligibility.**

GSEC 2012 Prizes to be announced in summer 2011. For reference, monetary prizes for 2011 included:

  • $12,500 – Grand Prize
  • $10,000 – Information Communication & Technology (ICT) prize, sponsored by Microsoft
  • $10,000 – Global Health prize, sponsored by the UW Department of Global Health
  • $1,000 – Seattle Rotary prize, sponsored by Seattle Rotary. Review the attached letter and submit requirements by Feb 03, 2011to be eligible.
  • NCIIA Invention to Venture workshop scholarships (only US teams are eligible)

Now Accepting GSEC 2012 Intent To Submit applications! Review the GSEC Rules below and submit your team’s GSEC 2012 Intent to Submit today.

Questions or Comments?
Contact gsec at


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