Annual NewDay Challenge seeks student innovators

March 18, 2013 2:00 PM

Keith Brannon

If you’re a Tulane student with a great idea for a New Orleans-based social venture, the 2013 NewDay Challenge is your shot at up to $20,000 to make it happen. Now in its fourth year, the contest is designed to give student innovators access to traditionally hard-to-get startup money to launch a new organization, program or venture that benefits the New Orleans community.


Melanie Barlow, one of an undergraduate team that won $5,000 from the NewDay Challenge last year for Sudz Soap, sells their soap at the Tibet Culture Fair on March 10. (Photo from Melanie Barlow)

Last year, undergraduates Melanie Barlow, Alexandra Russell and Winnie Pritchett won $5,000 for Sudz Soap, a venture that sells handmade soap to customers in the United States to pay for soap to send overseas. NewDay also awarded graduate student Anne Rolfes $10,000 for Mardi Gras Made in New Orleans, a venture that aims to sell sustainable carnival throws, Zombeads.

The funding is intended to enable student innovators to turn their social impact ideas into reality, says Stephanie Barksdale, special assistant for social innovation to Tulane President Scott Cowen.

"It is rare to have the opportunity to access early stage investment dollars as a student, and the NewDay Challenge is a great learning experience for students on how to access some of the initial funding needed launch a venture,” Barksdale says.

The deadline to enter the challenge is 5 p.m. on April 3. To apply, students must put together a social business proposal no longer than 10 pages, a resume and separate letters of recommendation from a faculty member and an external supporter. Applications must be submitted via email to Rebecca Otten.

Entries will be evaluated based on creativity, the strength of social mission, impact on the community and potential to be self-sustaining. Barksdale says the contest could award funding to one to three ventures, depending on the needs of finalists and the quality of proposals. Winners will be announced at a ceremony April 16.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu