Deadline: 16-Jul-21

Do you have an awesome idea to solve a social or environmental problem? Are you ready to take action, but don’t know where to start? If yes, then apply for this Shifters Global Innovation Challenge!

The 2021 Social Shifters Global Innovation Challenge will take you from idea to entrepreneur – helping bring your idea to life AND sharpening your social business skills!

All applicants will receive FREE e-learning, specialist project development support and access to mentors as well as connection to a network of young changemakers like you!

The first 500 applicants will also receive a VIP Ticket to the Social Enterprise World Forum 2021 and challenge finalists will compete for prizes of up to $10,000!
Which SDGs does your idea tackle?

  • No Poverty: End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
  • Zero Hunger: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
  • Good Health and Well-being: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
  • Quality Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
  • Gender Equality: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
  • Clean Water and Sanitation: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
  • Affordable and Clean Energy: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
  • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
  • Reduce Inequalities: Reduce Inequality within and among countries.
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
  • Responsible Consumption and Production: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
  • Climate Action: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
  • Life Below Water: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
  • Life on Land: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
  • Peace, Justice and Strong Institution: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
  • Partnership for the Goals: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.


  • The Social Shifters Global Innovation Challenge is all about supporting young people (18-30) to take entrepreneurial action on social and environmental issues that matter to you.
  • Everyone who enters receives a package of FREE startup support and mentoring to develop their idea.
  • The first 500 applicants will receive a VIP ticket to the Social Enterprise World Forum 2021.
  • The best idea solutions will compete for cash prizes and funding pots of up to $10,000!
  • Finalists will receive global recognition and exposure at the Social Enterprise World Forum 27-29 Sept 2021.

Eligibility Criteria

  • The Challenge is open to anyone 18-30 years old.
  • You can enter on your own or as a team (up to 5 members). Team participation is strongly encouraged.
  • Social Shifters is looking for a business solution to an environmental or social issue. This can be a non-profit or for-profit idea but must be at an early stage (less than one year old with no significant funding in place).

Additional Information

  • Create change through your ideas: Fuel lasting impact in the world with an innovative business solution.
  • Create your own future: Turning away from a traditional corporate career to do something with more purpose can be hard. The good news is that you can take things into your own hands.
  • Be enterprising: They are looking for a world-changing business idea to solve a problem that matters to you. That means some form of activity that makes money while improving lives, helping communities, or protecting the environment.
  • Go from passion to action: EVERYONE that submits an idea gets exclusive free access to Steps to Startup, world-leading social startup e-learning. This takes you through the entire startup process at your own pace, with practical tools, templates and tips at every stage.

Judging Criteria
All entries will be evaluated based on the following:

  • Impactful: Will the business idea solve an important social or environmental problem?
  • Innovative: Is the idea insightful, and potentially a breakthrough solution to the problem?
  • Feasible: Could the idea be implemented with financial and mentoring support?
  • Scalable: Does this idea have the potential to be expanded on a larger scale?

Submissions that include a short video pitch (less than 60 seconds) will receive additional points in the evaluation.

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