Competition Aims to Boost Social Entrepreneurship

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Gene Hambrick is the director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. (photo courtesy Earlham College) Gene Hambrick is the director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. (photo courtesy Earlham College)

Earlham College in Richmond has launched a business plan competition that seeks to promote innovation, social entrepreneurship and collaboration. The Earlham Prize for Creative Capitalism will award up to $40,000 in seed funding for startups focusing on social ventures or peace-building initiatives.

The inaugural competition will feature 14 teams comprised of students from Earlham, Indiana University East, Ivy Tech Community College and Purdue Polytechnic Institute. They will compete for a $20,000 grand prize with smaller cash prizes being awarded to other proposals.

"We call it creative capitalism because it focuses on people, planet and profit. All three," said Gene Hambrick, executive in residence and the director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Earlham. "We want participants to create business plans to do well by doing good. Part of the Earlham mission is to prepare morally sensitive leaders and this is helping us reinforce that mission by preparing that special kind of leader to serve future generations. The world can use a lot of them."

Earlham says some of the proposals being featured in the competition include a food security program to alleviate hunger in Wayne County, a STEM education program to develop creative minds and a program that provides innovative transportation and overnight childcare services for working parents.

The competition will come to a head with a final round of presentations for judges in April. The judges include representatives from Earlham, IU East, the Wayne County Economic Development Corp., the Indiana Small Business Development Center and the Center City Development Corp.

The Earlham Prize for Creative Capitalism is an initiative supported by the Earlham Plan for Integrative Education, or EPIC. You can learn more about the competition in the video below:

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