Last week we announced the 115 Semi-Finalists in the 2011 Dell Social Innovation Competition. These student teams represent more than 27 countries and 250 students with inspiring, innovative ideas for how to tackle problems, including poverty, disease prevention, and alternative energy.
This year’s competition began with more than 1,400 entries – more than double the year before! We also expanded our geographic reach with more than 85 countries represented in total, including 297 entries from India, 41 from China and more than 60 from Latin America. We also added new countries, like South Korea, Czech Republic, and Costa Rica.
As part of our focus on engaging more students and expanding our global impact, we have added several new prizes and programs to this year’s competition. For example, in addition the $50,000 First Place prize, this year we have added a $20,000 Second Place prize and a $10,000 Third Place prize. We also added a special “Dell Technology Award” for the social innovation that best makes use of technology.
Dell team members are more engaged this year than ever before. We were very grateful to have had 85 Dell team members volunteer for our Round 1 judging. Each judge read up to 30 entries and provided insightful feedback on whether the students’ idea met our three key criteria of innovation, sustainability and scalability. This week we will launch our new Semi-Finalist Mentoring program for which more than 60 Dell team members have volunteered to provide one-on-one mentoring and business plan advice to our 115 Semi-Finalists. These mentors will be matched with students from around the world according to geography, language, and areas of interest.
In the below video, 2010 winner, Kennedy Odede of Shining Hope for Communities, and 2009 winner, Emma Clipinger of Gardens for Health, talk about the impact of the Dell Social Innovation on their lives and communities:
It’s truly amazing and inspiring to see both the boundless vision and direct impact that our Dell Social Innovation Competition students are having around the world. Our program recognizes their talent and success through a critical investment of seed capital as well as a prestigious award that they then often use to attract more partners and investors. As we continue to expand the program worldwide our plan is to engage thousands more students and to provide many more of them with the knowledge, tools, networks, and technology they need to go out and change the world.
The Final Event of the 2011 Dell Social Innovation Competition will take place at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 16th at the AT&T Conference Center on the University of Texas Campus. We are actively looking for advisors and volunteers for the program, so if you have a relevant expertise, interest or would like to get involved as a judge or mentor, please contact Michele Glaze, the Director of US Giving. And, be sure to check out our amazing Semi-Finalists!