Friday, February 13, 2009

A million dollar opportunity for an innovative social project

If you have an idea for an innovative social project that can create significant social value, here's your chance to win S$1 million. The Lien i3 Challenge hopes to catalyse social innovations by providing both funding as well as advice, to ensure good projects get launched and are sustainable. The challenge is open internationally but preference would be given to projects that benefit communities in Asia. Also, for a chance to win, the project must demonstrate innovation, impact and implementability - the i3. The challenge has been established by the Lien Centre for Social Innovation at Singapore Management University (Lien Centre at SMU).

The challenge is a three-stage process, which culminates with the implementation of the winning projects within a year. In the first stage, participants must submit their ideas in a two-page proposal by March 31, 2009. Participants will then be shortlisted to proceed to the second stage, where they will each be given S$1,000, mentorship and support by the panel of judges to further develop their ideas. The participants will have to submit 'refined' entries by August 31, after which the judges will select the final participants to award the S$1 million grant money to implement their ideas in the third and final stage. The winners will be announced in October.

Sharifah Maisharah Binte Mohamed, project manager, Lien i3 Challenge, elaborates, "The challenge was conceptualised in 2008 as part of the centre's efforts to enhance and grow the non-profit sector through social innovation. As a competition, Lien Centre at SMU also hopes the challenge will bring to light highly original, impactful ideas or effective solutions which are currently lacking in the social sector, and which will be deserving of the prize money and mentorship opportunity."

At present, other than funding, there is little support for the launch or implementation of social projects. "We see many good ideas in the Asian social space having to overcome so many resource constraints and barriers just to see the light in society. Good social initiatives should not have to travel so far. So, we conceptualised the challenge to complement the passion of the social sector with the right connections and resources," says Sharifah. The grant money is funded by the Lien Foundation in Singapore.

Sharifah adds, "The Lien Centre at SMU would like to see the full amount distributed to implement the winning entries. The amount each winning entry will enjoy out of the S$1 million will be decided at the discretion of the judging panel." The centre will also act as a facilitator for selected participants to obtain advice and tap into the expertise of the panel of judges. For example, in the second stage participants can also discuss with judges how best to use the S$1,000 development grant to test their ideas further.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Education/A-million-dollar-opportunity/articleshow/4061561.cms

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

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