Applications now open for the Impact Prize

Impact Prize logo

Applications are now open to Syracuse University’s student social impact competition for social entrepreneurship. The competition is open to undergraduate and graduate students at Syracuse University from across all academic programs and majors, and to SUNY ESF students who study entrepreneurship at SU.

Applications are open until November 2, and the competition will be held November 13 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Bird Library.

The Impact Prize supports student entrepreneurs who are engaged in solving some of the world’s most pressing problems through innovation. It is coordinated by the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University, and supported through a generous gift from Dr. Gisela M. von Dran, along with another gift from a member of the Advisory Board of the Syracuse University Libraries.

An Impact Prize information session will be held October 9, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Blackstone LaunchPad, in Bird Library.

An Idea Generator workshop on October 19 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Blackstone LaunchPad will help inspire students to think about societal issues and frame possible solutions that are feasible and implementable. Some of these challenges might relate to energy, the environment and sustainability, community revitalization, poverty and empowerment, arts, culture and education, or healthcare, nutrition and human services.

The workshop will be led by Audrey Miller, Blackstone LaunchPad Global Fellow and Emma Rothman, Blackstone LaunchPad Engagement Scholar.  It is open to all students.

Impact Prize applications are not limited to the topics covered in the Idea Generator workshop, but is an open call for products, services or technologies that can become practical, innovative and sustainable solutions to societal problems anywhere around the globe. Proposals should cut across sectors and disciplines, be grounded in the principles of social entrepreneurship, and address human needs, whether as non-profit or for-profit entities.

An initial judging round, led by campus faculty and staff with expertise in civic engagement or social entrepreneurship, will select the final teams to pitch. Those teams will then pitch their impact ideas to a distinguished panel of nonprofit leaders and innovators on November 13 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Prize winners will be announced at an award ceremony and reception immediately following the competition.

The Impact Prize Competition is a highlight of Syracuse University’s Global Entrepreneurship Week, November 12 -16, 2018.

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. As a member of the iSchool faculty, she taught organization management courses at the graduate level as well as the iSchool’s first-year gateway course. 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. Von Dran was a longtime academic entrepreneur who started many innovative programs in higher education and supported student innovation and entrepreneurship at Syracuse University. Shortly after his death in 2007, Gisela von Dran established the Raymond F. von Dran Fund, to support the RvD initiative, which funds the iPrize.

The Impact Prize competition will serves as a gateway to the annual iPrize competition, as well as global competitions such as the Hult Prize.

The Impact Prize will be managed by, Audrey Miller ‘20, a double major in Political Science and International Relations and a Blackstone Launchpad Global Media Fellow. Miller is also the Campus Director for the Hult Prize competition at the end of November.  She will be working with Emma Rothman ’21, Blackstone LaunchPad Engagement Scholar.

Impact Prize Key Dates:

  • September 28, Applications Open On-Line,
  • October 9, Impact Prize Information Session, Blackstone LaunchPad
  • October 19, Idea Generator Workshop, Blackstone LaunchPad
  • November 2, Impact Prize Applications Due,
  • November 13, Impact Prize competition, award ceremony and reception, Bird Library

For more information, or to make an appointment to discuss your idea, e-mail:

Or, visit the Blackstone LaunchPad in Bird Library (Suite 120), meet a coach, and become a member.