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Contact Information:

Social Innovation & Social Entrepreneurship
(504) 247-1963

Center for Engaged Learning & Teaching (CELT)
310 Richardson Building
6823 St Charles Ave
New Orleans, LA 70118
Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship at Tulane University
NewDay Challenge


The New Day Challenge

The NewDay Challenge awards up to $20,000 in seed funding to Tulane students dedicated to finding innovative, sustainable solutions to social challenges. Applicants can be any student-created, student-led organization, program, or venture that benefits the New Orleans community. The seed funding is intended to enable student innovators to turn their social impact ideas into reality. 

We are looking for student ventures that:

  • Create social value
  • Plan to generate revenue (sustainability)
  • Solve a social challenge in New Orleans

Application Process 

Applications due: Sunday, March 15, 2015 at 11:59 pm
Applicants receive feedback to improve their proposals: Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 11:59 pm
Updated proposals due: Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 11:59 pm
Finalists notified: Thursday, April 2, 2015
Finalists present their venture ideas; awards are announced: Thursday, April 16, 2015

Social Venture Proposal Requirements 

To qualify, you must e-mail the following information in one combined PDF to Rebecca Otten at The PDF should be titled Undergraduate/Graduate_LastName_SocialVentureTitle.

  1. A 5-10 page proposal that describes your social venture idea, sustainability plan, and how seed funding will be used. Proposals should provide the following information clearly and succinctly:
  • Describe hypothesized solution in the context of the identified social problem
  • Describe how you plan to implement your venture, including steps previously taken and concrete next steps
  • Describe how you will market or promote your venture
  • Describe how you plan to make your venture financially sustainable
  • Describe who is on your team and your combined expertise
  • Describe how you will evaluate/measure your work and its impact on solving the problem your venture is addressing
  • Describe lessons you have learned while testing your idea, particularly focusing on your interactions with potential users and any need to pivot during the process
  1. A one-page budget for use of funds (up to $20,000)
  2. A one-page Resume for each official team member
  3. Two letters of references: one faculty member and one external supporter

Note: The final PDF document should be 9-17 pages based on the length of your proposal and number of team members.

Selection Criteria 

To qualify for seed funding, applicants must meet the following objective criteria:

  • Applicant must be a Tulane student and one of the primary owners of the social venture idea
  • Proposal must offer clear and measurable use of funding with a plan to generate revenue
  • Proposal must express a commitment to solve a specific social challenge faced by our New Orleans community

Plans must be for a seed-stage, start-up, or early stage venture and must propose an innovative solution to a specific social challenge faced by the New Orleans community.

  • Applicants must generate less than $50,000 in current revenues at the time of application
  • Applicants must demonstrate how funding will allow the venture to take the next step needed to achieve goals

A selection committee from the Tulane community will evaluate all entries that meet the minimum objective criteria and select finalists based on the following:

  • Strength of your social mission
  • Innovation and creativity of your solution
  • Evidence of testing your hypothesis & prototyping your solution with potential users
  • Impact on community and validation of your solution (letters of support, sales, partners)
  • Potential that your venture will be self–sustaining
  • Ability for NewDay seed funding to help launch your venture

Note: Teams with hypotheses that are difficult or expensive to test/prototype should still apply, but please note what progress you have already made.


Applicants for the NewDay Challenge are strongly encouraged 

to apply for our Changemaker Institute social venture incubator.


Past Winners Include:

2014: Trash to Treasure by Anne Bevis, Tracy Godbe, Margot Habets, Stuart Rowe, & Stephanie Choi
Academic Department(s): None

Trash to Treasure (T2T) aims to reduce the amount of waste each year during move-out time at college campuses across New Orleans by collecting reusable dorm items in the spring, storing them over the summer, and reselling them in the fall. The proceeds of the sale guarantee the continuity of the program. 

2014: ComeFail by Ethan Levy, Samuel Lensgraf, William Jordan, Charles Bentley, & Kyle Graham
Academic Department(s): International Studies & Business Administration

ComeFail seeks to increase the number of entrepreneurs and their likelihood of success, and by redefining  the culture of failure, it aims to minimize fear and maximize self-improvement. It helps identify effective solutions to global problems and facilitates investment in these solutions.

2013: Fund 17 by Haley Burns & Juan Carlos Monterrey Gomez
Academic Department(s): Business Administration

Fund 17 believes that every New Orleanian deserves equal opportunity to success. This non-profit microfinance institution operated by a team of hardworking and passionate Tulane students. Fund 17's mission is to combat income inequality in all seventeen wards of New Orleans by providing financial tools for self-empowerment.

2013: Crescent City Connections by Theodore Nathan
Academic Department(s): Business Administration

CCC connects customers with nonprofits by promoting and facilitating customized volunteer activities to provide nonprofits greater resources while customers enjoy a unique community and team-building experience. CCC offers a fun, informative, impactful, volunteer service event tailored around the context of the project. Services include tours, team building, after party, photo/video, and more.

2013: Birthmark Doula Collective by Dana Keren
Academic Department(s): Business Administration

Birthmark Doula Collective assist women and their families in having the most empowering pregnancy, birth, and parenting experiences possible. They provide emotional, physical, and information support to women and their families throughout the full spectrum of reproductive health and parenting. They collaborate and build relationships with many partners in order to increase access to education, support, and advocacy for pregnant and parenting women in our communities.

2012: SUDZ by Melanie Barlow, Alexandra Russell, & Winnie Pritchett
Academic Department(s): International Relations, Public Health, International Development

Sudz Soap, L3C is a student owned and operated business that sells all-natural, olive oil based bars of soap in the United States and uses the proceeds to implement sanitation improvement projects abroad. Sudz' mission is to sell a great soap product and harness the power of smart consumer spending to raise money for sanitation programs in areas of the world where many people are dying of preventable diseases. SMELLS GOOD. FEELS GOOD. DOES GOOD.
2012: Mardi Gras Made in New Orleans by Anne Rolfes
Academic Department(s): International Development

ZomBeads is a socially conscious, community-driven business that believes in Mardi Gras ReMade in New Orleans. Our local lines of products are made exclusively through partnership with artists and manufacturers in the Gulf Coast region, especially the Greater New Orleans area. Our products are made from locally sourced and recycled materials. Profits from ZomBeads go to support the work of the local environmental and social justice non-profit organization, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade.

2011: Aquaponic Modular Production Systems (AMPS) by Doug Jacobs, Kevin Morgan, Melissa Hew, and Stephanie Stefanski
Academic Department(s): Environmental Studies, Homeland Studies, Sociology
VertiFarms (formerly AMPS) builds and operates commercial aeroponic farms that sustainably grow greens and other vegetables on site for grocery stores, schools, restaurants, and community groups. VertiFarm's vision is to bring urban farming to main street USA using innovative, water efficient growing systems. Their breakthrough approach is good for the environment, healthier, and saves time and money.

2011: Surround Sound Accompaniment by Christopher "Skip" Wilson
Academic Department(s): Business Administration

Surround Sound Accompaniment (SSA) will provide musicians with a revolutionary online platform that will serve as an on‐demand portal in which users can instantly download music, scores, orchestral accompaniment, and performance notes. SSA will provide young New Orleans musicians with educational and professional development. Student musicians from New Orleans will gain the experience of working with renowned staff to produce a product for which there is world-wide demand. SSA will also be providing regional musicians with an outlet for creativity and providing jobs and career opportunities for those passionate about the arts.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000