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MIT IDEAS Social Innovation Challenge

IDEAS is MIT’s 19-year old social innovation and entrepreneurship program for students. Check out this year’s finalists and vote for your favorite project!

Submissions are Closed

Challenge Overview

MIT IDEAS Social Innovation Challenge Virtual Innovation Showcase

Since 2001, the MIT Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center has coordinated the IDEAS Social Innovation Challenge, an annual innovation and social entrepreneurship program that supports MIT’s social entrepreneurs and innovators via its tailored programming, advising and mentorship. Additionally, IDEAS awards up to $21,000 per team for projects that positively impact underserved communities around the world.  MIT students recruit team members all over the world and submit projects in such areas as Water & Sanitation, Agriculture, Health & Medical, Emergency & Disaster Relief, and Energy & Environment. Over the past 19 years, the IDEAS Challenge has awarded more than $1,000,000 to over 170 teams that have implemented innovative service projects in 44 countries, serving the needs of tens of thousands of people. These teams have secured over $69 million in follow-on funding for their community projects and about half remain active in some way.

This year’s cohort is comprised of 13 graduate and 7 undergraduate teams from the following MIT degree programs: Sloan (UG, MBA, EMBA), Media Lab, Mechanical Engineering, Civil & Environmental. Engineering, Architecture, Electrical Engineering, Math, Computer Science, Leadership & Global Operations, and Integrated Design Management! The projects span across 10 sectors. 13 of  20 teams are women-led!

This year, IDEAS is shifting its annual live showcase event that it typically hosts on the MIT campus to a virtual showcase due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The public can still engage with MIT IDEAS and explore the twenty finalists’ projects and vote their favorites! Each finalist is receiving a seed grant of $1,000 to further their efforts and will be considered for an additional juried award ranging from $7,500 – 20,000 on April 26. Teams that are not awarded a juried award will be considered for one of two online favorites awards of $2,500 each. Teams have a 16-month implementation window. Please vote, share, and join the live stream award ceremony on April 26 (!

For questions about the MIT IDEAS Challenge, please email:


Accepting Solutions

  • Submission Window Opens

Evaluating Solutions

  • Voting Ends
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