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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 $670,000 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. 




JULY 1st, 2022 - NOVEMBER 30th, 2022

Participating universities and colleges register by November 30, and pay the registration fee by December 15, 2022



FEBRUARY, 2023 - Round 1 - The Problem

Students analyze the problem landscape and detail key players and existing solutions. 

Participating universities set their campus deadlines and deliverables.


April, 2023 - Round 2 - The Solution

Students propose the solution to the problem explored in Round 1. After this round, each university will advance up to two teams to the Global Finals. 

Participating universities set their campus deadlines and deliverables.


JUNE, 2023 - Round 3 - Pre-Finals Submissions 

Global Finalists submit their pre-recorded 10-minute pitch and 90-second fast pitch on Friday, June 2, 2023 to


JUNE, 2023 - Innovation Week - Global Finals

All Global Finalists who submitted their pre-recorded pitches by Friday, June 2 will pitch in-person on Friday, June 16 in Minneapolis, MN. Limited accommodation for virtual pitching will be offered to teams who are unable to travel due to visa issues.


Shortlisted teams pitch again on Saturday, June 17 to a new set of judges.


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 problem landscape 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 Finals.

Participating universities / colleges:

  • Register their Fowler GSIC participation by November 30, 2022, and pay the registration fee by December 15, 2022.

  • Run the first two rounds of the challenge (or ,use alternate selection format such as an existing competition, class, coursework, etc.) to nominate up to two finalist teams to represent the university at the Global Finals. 


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

The Fowler GSIC is run by Spark at the University of San Diego (USD), in partnership with the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota. 


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 2023. Student finalists can pitch in person or virtually (limited spots available) if a team is unable to obtain a visa to travel.  Finalists must also demonstrate well-defined next steps, a realistic implementation plan, and their team’s commitment to implementing the venture.

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