The Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation Competition invites public participation in judging semi-finalists

For a chance to win $250, audience members can vote on their favorite business proposal.

Entrepreneurs with good business instincts and a sense of social responsibility will take their plans to the people this week at the second annual Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Competition (SEIC). On Thursday, March 22nd at 6 p.m. sixteen semi-finalists will present their ideas for new social ventures in an “elevator pitch” first to a panel of judges and then to an audience of community members and students. Audience members will then vote on which pitch should win.

The competition is organized by the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. The event takes place in the Lab Sciences auditorium on Washington University’s Danforth Campus, and is free and open to the public.

“This will be an exciting and fast-paced event,” said Ken Harrington, managing director of the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. “We will give the audience the same evaluation sheet the judges used earlier in the day. In addition to evaluating the concept, team, and presentation, the judges and audience members will evaluate the team’s plan for the venture’s sustainability, and its plan for measuring the concept’s social value. The reception will offer a great opportunity for people to connect and interact.”

Once the audience evaluations have been collected, the judges’ selections for the finalists will be announced. The audience votes will be tabulated and the audience member whose scores are the closest match to the judges’ decision will win $250.

This is the second annual SEIC organized by the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, in partnership with the YouthBridge Association. In only its second year, the number of submissions was 33% higher than last year’s. This year’s semi-finalists include a variety of social enterprise ideas ranging from a youth hostel to a café providing food service training and job opportunities for immigrant women, to a center providing a multi-disciplinary approach to help children with learning disabilities.

In addition to the increase in the number of submissions, funding support for the competition has grown as well, with the addition of the Deaconess Foundation as a sponsor, joining the 2nd year sponsor Incarnate Word Foundation. With the increase in funding, teams now compete for grants totaling more than $100,000, including awards to teams which are founded or supported by students.

For a complete list of the semi-finalists and to register for the March 22nd event, go to the Skandalaris Center web site at