Applications: CLOSED

Hemispheric University Consortium (HUC)

Social Ideas Challenge

The HUC Social Ideas Challenge (SIC) is a contest developed by the Hemispheric University Consortium and the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, which seeks to promote entrepreneurship with social impact through university communities. In this contest, the best ideas are sought at an early stage to help solve problems that affect our society. In this third edition, institutions participating include: University of Miami (USA), Universidad Andrés Bello (Chile), Universidad San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador), Universidad de la Américas de Puebla(México),, Universidad de Costa Rica (Costa Rica), Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (Rep. Dominicana), Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (Perú) and Pontificia Universidad Católica (Chile).

This year, the contest will focus on socio-environmental challenges, within the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Thus, ideas are sought to improve people’s life quality and the environment that surrounds us.

We invite all students from the aforementioned universities to participate in the contest by submitting their proposals which should be at the conceptual level (ideas), not developed business plans or models!

Why do we want to do this?

Social Entrepreneurship represents an invaluable tool when it comes to solving the main problems of our society and the world. Therefore, we consider that the first step is to propose ideas. Although these may not initially be carried out in projects or social ventures, learning to propose solutions can be essential in helping to change lives. Today an idea, tomorrow a reality.

Meet the Social Ideas Challenge 2021 journey



Meet the International Finale in eMerge Americas

General objective

Promote an ecosystem of innovation and sustainable social entrepreneurship throughout America. The contest aims to serve as a resource where participants can be inspired to develop ideas applicable to the reality of their country.

Specific objectives

Position Social and Sustainable Entrepreneurship as topics to be discussed throughout universities in the hemisphere.

  • Provide greater opportunities where students can deepen their comprehensive training.

  • Serve as a platform for students from different institutions of higher education to share experiences, common interests, challenges, and establish long lasting ties.

  • Learn about the social and environmental challenges experienced in other countries through meeting students, workshops and seeing each other’s solution proposals.

  • Generate ideas for solutions to socio-environmental problems.

Stages of the contest

The contest has four stages and the participants must overcome various filters, which will take them to the final stages of the HUC-Social Ideas Challenge.

  • International Launch (Septembre 27th, 6PM EST): the contest will begin with an inaugural event, where social entrepreneurs, academics and other experts from different areas will participate. The event will end with the opening of registration for interested teams.
  • Registration deadline (September 27- October 31, 2023 at 23:59 (GTM -3)): Once the registration process is closed, each university will select the teams that will participate in the next round. The criteria for this application and selection may vary according to each institution and will be disseminated and communicated in advance by each of them.
  • Social Ideas Challenge by University (Between November 13 and 17, time to be confirmed).:
    • Workshops: Once each university selects its team/s, workshops will be held to promote skills related to social entrepreneurship. Topics related to entrepreneurship and social innovation will be covered by professors from participating universities. Each team must participate in at least two of these workshops, to improve their project before the final presentations. All workshops will be remote and will have a theoretical-practical modality to enable networking.
    • Closing Event: All participating teams, regardless of their placement, must participate in a closing event. Feedback will be provided so that participants can improve their projects. The event will be online and synchronous for all countries. This will also be a space to meet and learn.
    • Local finale: Should a university have multiple teams, local finales of the SIC will be held. The finalists must pitch the problem and solution idea that they are proposing. These will be evaluated by a jury made up of teachers, experts from the institution, and external guests, who will announce the winning team. The names of the jury, the evaluation criteria, and the formal aspects will be communicated to the teams in advance via email.
  • Meeting for Social Entrepreneurship (April 2024, Miami): The fourth and last stage will be a meeting between all the winning teams representing the participating universities. Hosted in Miami, teams must present their projects where first prize and runner up teams will be selected. The judges will be made up of a representative from each institution and will score to each team based on the relevance of the problem, the relevance of the idea, creativity, and innovation and its feasibility. The maximum and minimum scores will be eliminated, to avoid possible conflicts of interest. This stage will be face-to-face, unless safety measures or other challenges make online connection necessary.


Application requirements

● Participating teams must have between 2 to 4 members. Members must be enrolled students (undergraduate or graduate) at the time of registration from a participating university.

● Each team must have a representative, who will be in charge of maintaining contact with the SIC organizers.

● The same person can present more than one idea and be part of different applicant teams, but with a maximum of one project, they can access the second stage.

● Proposals must be original and innovative ideas that solve a problem framed within SDG 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, or 16.

● The registration form must be completed before October 17 until 23:59 hrs (GTM -3).

● Proposals and team presentations must be made in English.

● The SIC organizers assume that once the application form has been sent, the participants have read and understood the bases set out in this document.

● Any questions can be consulted by mail to


Each team can present as many ideas as they consider pertinent, but only one of them will be able to classify. The ideas must be solutions to problems that fall within the following Sustainable Development Goals:


● SDG 3,Good Health and Well-Being

● SDG 4, Quality Education

● SDG 6, Clean Water and Sanitation

● SDG 7, Affordable and Clean Energy

● SDG 10, Reduced Inequalities

● SDG 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities

● SDG 12, Responsable Production and Consumption

● SDG 13, Climate Action

● SDG 14, Life Below Water

● SDG 15, Life on Land

● SDG 16, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


The projects must have a social entrepreneurial focus, where they provide a solution to any of the issues presented. Ideas must be innovative, so replicas or copies of existing projects will not be accepted. The proposals submitted will be evaluated under the following criteria:

Pre-selection: The pre-selection will be made based on the application form, in which each team must describe the problem it seeks to solve and the idea presented. The organizers reserve the right to choose fewer finalists depending on the number of ideas received.

Pitch and presentations: The evaluation in stages 2 and 4 will be based on an oral presentation, accompanied by audiovisual material. This presentation should not exceed 3 minutes and should contain all relevant information about the team’s idea. The aspects that will be evaluated in each of the stages are:


1. Relevance of the problem. Responding to a real and contingent problem. How it affects people, and if it’s a daily life difficulty.

2. Creativity and innovation in the solution. How original the idea is concerning existing solutions to similar problems. Innovation in the proposal and novelty in the way of tackling the problem. The idea will be considered not to be in the development, prototype, or sales phase.

3. Potential impact. The amount of people who would benefit from this innovation. Measuring the direct beneficiaries of the idea. The scale can be between 10 people to 100.000 or above.

4. Feasibility of applying the solution. That the idea is feasible to implement, being realistic in its practical and social implementation.

5. Quality of presentation. The clarity and fluency of the presentation, the correct use of graphic materials, and the use of time will be considered.


The prizes of the Social Ideas Challenge in the local stage are awarded by each university and may vary according to the institution.

The prizes are as follows:


At the local stage:

   –    The prizes of the Social Ideas Challenge are awarded by each university and may vary according to the institution.

Local Winning teams will receive:

   –   Showcasing your project in Miami (on site or virtually), where your team will be able to present your idea in pitch format.

   –   Mentorship from experts of Venture Mentoring Team (VMT) to prepare the winning teams for the pitch competition in Miami.

   –   Support from experts and academics in your university to carry out the project.

   –   A Hemispheric University Consortium Certificate in the form of an electronic badge attesting to achievement.

   –   Winning team of The Social Ideas Challenge will receive an opportunity to present their ideas to experts from all over the continent and receive feedback to carry it out.


The participating teams must specify in the registration form that they authorize the use of the name and description of their idea, for dissemination purposes. These will be published on social networks, website and news about the Social Ideas Challenge.

The organization reserves the right to modify the guidelines at any time.


    • Launch: September 27
    • Applications: September 27- October 31, 2023 at 23:59 (GTM -3).
    • Teams Preselection in each university: November 6 (via mail).
  • Social Ideas Challenge:
    • Workshops: Between November 13 and 16 (time to be confirmed).
    • Closing Event: November 17
  • Local Final: Dates vary by university, and are as follows. For more details contact the contest administrator in your institution
  • Meeting for Social Entrepreneurship: April 2024, Miami.

UniversityLocal Final
U. of Miami
U. de los AndesWill be announced
P. Universidad Católica de Chileby the university
U. San Francisco de Quitoafter the closing

U. Andrés Bello

Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia
Universidad de Costa Rica

Universidad de las Américas Puebla

Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra