The Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge (GSIC) connects student entrepreneurs from around the world, inviting them to develop and pitch sustainable business solutions to pressing social, cultural, and environmental issues. Participants gain hands-on experience, mentoring, and network connections, while developing a heightened awareness of global responsibility as each initiative must advance at least one of the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations. Since 2011, the Fowler GSIC has inspired nearly 1,000 student teams from over 20 countries and distributed over $500,000 to student ventures promoting positive sustainable change. 

We invite you to join our Global Network. Reach out to us to take social innovation on your campus to the next level. 



FEBRUARY 26th, 2021

Student Round 1 Submissions ("The Problem") are due




APRIL 24th, 2021

Student Round 2 Submissions ("The Solution") are due

JUNE 4th, 2021
Round 3 Pitch Decks are due a week before the pitching date

JUNE 11th-12th, 2021
Finalist students pitch their proposed innovative solutions virtually at the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge Finals



JULY 1st, 2020 - NOVEMBER 30th, 2020

Participating universities/colleges register their participation by November 30, and pay the registration fee by December 15, 2020.



The Fowler GSIC is an opportunity for students to turn their ideas for sustainable social or environmental impact into reality via resources, mentorship, and a chance to secure seed funding.

Participants are asked to select a social or environmental issue of their choice, and work through the following stages:

  1. Study the existing landscape of the problem to discover gaps in existing solutions and identify levers of change.

  2. Develop a business plan around an innovative solution that addresses these gaps.

  3. Pitch the proposed solution for a chance to obtain seed funding and other resources at the global final.

Participating universities / colleges:

  • Register their Fowler GSIC participation by November 30, 2020, and pay the registration fee by December 15, 2020.

  • Leverage online platform and other resources made available by CPC (as the university sees fit) to encourage and support student participation in the challenge through workshops, DIY resources, mentorship, and other guidance.  

  • Run the first two rounds of the challenge and nominate up to two finalist teams that get to represent the university at the global final in San Diego, California, and pitch (in-person or virtually) to a panel of judges for up to $50,000+ in seed funding and other resources.


The Fowler GSIC is also an emerging platform for students to build and connect with a community of like-minded individuals and organizations from around the world who are passionate about creating positive change in the world.

The Fowler GSIC is run by the Center or Peace and Commerce (CPC) at the University of San Diego (USD), in partnership with universities/colleges around the world. The CPC is a collaborative effort between two USD schools: the School of Business and the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and is focused on preparing new generations of changemakers.


Student-led teams “apprentice with” a social or environmental issue of their choice, and produce a visual map/chart /infographic and an executive summary of the issue that demonstrates their understanding of this issue.


Student-led semi-finalist teams craft an innovative solution to their chosen problem or issue and demonstrate this proposed solution’s impact, feasibility, sustainability, scalability or replicability, as well as its acceptability or desirability to the community or target population.


Up to two finalist teams from each participating college/university can advance to the global final. Pitch decks are due one week before the final pitch in June 2020. Student finalists can pitch in person in San Diego, California, USA, or virtually over the internet.  Finalists must also demonstrate well-defined next steps, a realistic implementation plan, and their team’s commitment to implementing the venture.

Click the button below to view submission requirements, examples and FAQs