Our Social Entrepreneurship Program
Eight years ago, ReachOut partnered with Princeton Entrepreneurs Club students frustrated that Princeton was not supporting their ideas about social entrepreneurship. From that came an annual Social Entrepreneur Contest (SEC) and Princeton Social Innovation (PSI), a student entrepreneurs club. ReachOut has worked to tap two growing
movements among today's students: the traditional for-profit venture and the recent social entrepreneurship.
Members of ReachOut from the Class of '81 organized this first coordinated alumni effort to:
• spark and nurture the social entrepreneur culture
• strengthen student leadership and problem-solving skills, and
• engage alumni to mentor, judge and financially support students and their startups in these ventures
The SEC, open to undergraduate and graduate students, includes prize money, up to $30,000, to implement winning projects. In the early years, $10,000 in prize money was awarded, now increased to $30,000.
ReachOut now includes an "elevator pitch" competition, a chance for student teams to test high-level innovative ideas in 60 second "pitches" to a student audience and judges, in two tracks--for profit and not for profit. Because these are early stage sketches of ideas, with limited prize money for winners.
We also now sponsor a $1000 Social Entrepreneurship Prize in the HackPrinceton event held on campus as a weekend of conceiving, developing and completing prototypes for "apps" that solve problems. The results are astonishing. 100+ teams from East Coast universities created a remarkable range of products and services for phones, tablets and computers. We plan to continue to support this effort.
PSI has also strengthened its activities on campus to produce TEDx Princeton. TEDx is a localized version of the popular TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Talks, completely organized by students. ReachOut advised the students and helped brainstorm ideas for speakers. PSI raised the money and produced the event.
Leaders from the Class of '81 include Marty Johnson, Jon Wonnell, Bill Taylor, Frank Ordiway, Cathy Chute, Jason Gold, and others. Jim Freund '56 and Slade Mills '56 have served as judges.