A new Impact Prize initiative launches this week at Syracuse University. The program will support student entrepreneur teams that devise innovative and implementable solutions to economic or social problems, or civic challenges. Coordinated by the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University, the Impact Prize is supported through a gift to SU Libraries from Dr. Gisela M. von Dran, director emerita of the iSchool’s MSLIS program.
The Impact Prize consists of two components: an Impact Generator workshop series, and an Impact Prize Competition. The challenge is open to graduate and undergraduate Syracuse University students from all academic areas.
The Impact Prize kicks off with an event at 3 p.m. on September 22 in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons, 114 Bird Library. The event will feature an overview of the program and remarks by Dr. von Dran. It will also open the on-line application process, which runs through October 27. Twelve teams from across campus will be selected to pitch at a November 14 competition as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, and vie for $5,000 in awards to be allocated to the most promising, feasible solutions.
To jumpstart creative thinking about pressing social entrepreneurship challenges, Impact Generator workshops will be held on September 28-29 and October 5-6 at Bird Library. The goal of the workshops is to inspire students to think about big challenges in these areas, understand emerging issues and trends, and begin to brainstorm ideas for solutions. These interactive sessions will be led by local nonprofit leaders who are change-makers in:
- Energy, the environment, and sustainable solutions
- Arts, culture and education
- Community revitalization, poverty, and empowerment
- Healthcare, nutrition, and human services
The competition is not limited to the categories covered in the workshops, but is an open call for products, services, or technologies that can become practical and sustainable solutions to pressing global or local societal challenges.
The Impact Prize is funded through a personal gift from Dr. Gisela M. von Dran, director emerita of the iSchool’s MSLIS program, who has a special interest in entrepreneurship. Before joining the iSchool, Dr. von Dran served as an assistant professor of management at the Whitman School of Management. She is the wife of Raymond von Dran, who was dean of the iSchool from 1995 until his death in 2007. Shortly after, Gisela established the Raymond F. von Dran Fund at Syracuse University, and directed that fund to support the RvD initiative which funds the iPrize student entrepreneurship competition each spring. The new Impact Prize competition will serve as a gateway to the annual iPrize competition, as well as other global social entrepreneurship competitions on the Syracuse University campus, such as the Hult Prize.
Blackstone LaunchPad Engagement Scholar, Kennedy Patlan ‘18, a triple major in Advertising, Citizenship and Civic Engagement, and Women’s and Gender Studies,, is managing the project. The Engagement Scholar position was created as a part of the LaunchPad’s goal to grow social enterprise ventures across the campus innovation ecosystem.
For more information, see http://launchpad.syr.edu/impact/.