Congratulations to Debate it Forward, winner of the 2019 John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge. Debate it Forward is an education nonprofit that uses debate curriculum to teach students critical 21st century skills such as analytical reasoning, self-advocacy, and respectful disagreement. Led by Leah Shapiro, AB ’18, and Joshua Aaronson, AB ’19, the company won first place and $60,000 at the finals, which were held on June 4, 2019.
The John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge (SNVC) is run by the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at Chicago Booth in partnership with the Polsky Center. It is the social impact track of the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge (NVC) uniquely focused on launching social enterprises. The SNVC is the cornerstone of the Rustandy Center’s Edwardson Social Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Chicago, which helps jump-start businesses and nonprofits, including solar-powered light company LuminAID, African tractor-leasing company Hello Tractor, and online voter guide BallotReady.
SNVC teams can be for-profit or nonprofit organizations, but must present a business model with a social mission at the core as well as a plausible plan for financial sustainability—either through earned income, philanthropy, government aid, or some combination thereof.
Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag: #ChicagoNVC.