Young, ambitious and full of new social impact driven ideas. Ever thought about becoming an entrepreneur? Instead of sending in your cv, why not create your own job or launch your own impact driven project? The good news is: The Social Impact Award program (SIA) might be very helpful in fulfilling those entrepreneurial dreams!
Solving complex societal problems
Founded in 2009 by the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and the Impact Hub in Vienna, the aim of SIA is to provide and equip young people with knowledge, skills and networks needed to help solve complex social and or ecological problems facing our society.
In short: applicants in the SIA program will have three months to develop an idea into a concrete business plan, while SIA provides them with the right tools and ecosystem for that.
Around twenty countries internationally (mostly central and eastern European ones) have joined the competition so far and last year, Switzerland launched a first ‘Suisse Romande’ edition!Twelve weeks of workshops, mentoring and pitching resulted in three winners (Thinkmilk, Gymitrainer and Cuisinelab) plus a community winner chosen by the audience: Code in Creativity.
All of them went to Belgrade for the international SIA summit where they met other finalists and received five days of extra workshops to finalize their projects. For last year’s winner ‘Thinkmilk’, SIA was a great success. The price money helped him enable to build aprototype and the coach kept him on the right track. His advice for future applicants? Go for it, you have nothing to lose, only lots of valuable experience to gain!
This year’s edition
The Swiss edition this year, will take place in four cities: Zurich, Bern, Lausanne and Geneva. The competition is open for anybody, but the incubation period will take place mostly in Geneva and Lausanne
By the end of June the finalists, will be announced and in the summer their incubation period will start! Finalists can gain up to 4.000 francs for their project and six months support from the Impact Hub Geneva valued at CHF 10.000 per venture. So, there is really something at stake! And the coolest thing? All winners will be invited to join the international summit in Tbilisi to meet their fellow entrepreneurs, coordinators and will attend intensive business validation workshops with fellow SIA winners worldwide.
Coordinator for the current Swiss edition will be Mickael Mesbauer, who is based at Impact Hub Geneva and Lausanne. His expectations? “One of our goals is to raise awareness amongst younger people about social entrepreneurship. It is definitely a new career path and another way of living. I hope that with this award, we will be able to create a long-lasting impact together. I am looking forward to the incubation period. It’s already very exciting to see all the different ideas and the problems applicants try to tackle, so far very promising. In the future I would love to see the social impact award not only being promoted amongst younger people, it should be open to everybody with new creative ideas!”
Want to know more about last year’s winners or this year’s edition? Check out the website: http://socialimpactaward.ch
For the people who got inspired! There is still time to apply! Deadline will be the 17th of June, so hurry up!
Inspired but not sure how to apply? Send an e-mail to Mickael. He will be hosting one on one sessions, during the 5th and 8th of June, to answer all your questions!