Our society has invented many effective poverty solutions. Sadly, most of these fail to leave the design lab and factory to reach actual people in need. If we have already created solutions, why does poverty still exist?
The world needs entrepreneurs who can distribute proven poverty solutions in the developing world. Can you figure out a better way to distribute a solar lamp, or vaccine, or any other proven poverty solution to people in need? Pitch your idea to solve one of the challenges below. If selected, we will award up to $30,000 to pilot your new venture in Africa, Asia, or another other developing region the summer of 2018.
Fletcher Entrepreneurs are answering the call!
2017 Winner ComeOnGirls, a sponsorship platform for girls education founded by Menghan Li, F'18, will conduct a summer 2017 pilot in Western China. ComeOnGirls works to alleviate poverty by improving women’s education, digitally matching girls with donors. After China, Li hopes to take the nonprofit to other markets, such as Brazil and India.
Read more about Menghan's ComeOnGirls story
2016 Winners Kumwe Logistics, co-founded by Charles Dokmo, F'14, received $15,000 to help alleviate poverty by developing the future of African freight. A freight brokerage company lowering the cost of transportation in East Africa, Kumwe uses an online marketplace to connect shippers and truck owners—and gives the truck owners smartphones to make it happen. The company is up and running in Rwanda with expansion plans for early 2017.
Read about how Kumwe came to be
2015 Winner SponsorHer!, a social fundraising platform, will ensure the brightest girls in Ethiopia receive a high school education through a scholarship program. With $10,000 in seed funding, their platform mobilizes a network of expatriate mothers and corporate sponsors through an interactive social fundraising website. Founded by Viola Csordas, F’09 and her partner Maria Zandt, SponsorHer! helps eliminate the marriage or working trap for many young Ethiopian girls.
Learn more about SponsorHer!
2014 Winners Tommy Galloway, F’14 and Andrew Lala, F’14 received $15,000 to launch Claire de Lune, a solar light distributor platform that uses existing bus infrastructure and cultural remittance practices to reach the rural poor in Sub-Saharan Africa. Andrew and Tommy built a team and forged partnerships with Airtel and Burkina Faso's largest transportation network to create an innovative last mile distribution system for high-impact goods in West Africa.
Read about the Clair de Lune story
How this competition works
The Fletcher D-Prize is open to all Fletcher students, alumni, and Tufts undergraduates. At least one person on your team must be a current student or a graduate of The Fletcher School. Contact Rocky Weitz, Entrepreneur Coach, if you need matching assistance.
This competition is for people who want to launch a new social enterprise in the developing world. For students, this is your opportunity to put development into practice all while having impact through an intense summer internship experience which may lead to full time entrepreneurial engagement after graduation. For alumni, this is an opportunity to bring forth your enterprise building experiences to alleviate poverty. Either way, you may just discover what it takes to launch a successful enterprise that fights poverty and improves people’s lives directly.
If this is you, read on:
Step 1: Review the challenges.
We have already identified several proven poverty solutions that are in need of greater distribution. These challenges will give you a framework for designing your new venture.
Step 2: Design your venture.
The application packet on this website explains what judges want to see. More guidance and tips and is listed on this site too.
Step 3: Submit your pitch.
Concept notes for this years contest are due by November 7, 2017. Apply directly at d-prize.org/Fletcher. Judges invite the most promising entrepreneurs to submit a full 10 page proposal by January 23, 2018. Finalists interview with several judges. Judges will offer up to $20,000 in seed capital with additional in-kind support valued at $10,000 by March 2, 2018 in a convertible grant to ventures ready to launch.
Step 4: Book a plane ticket, hire a staff, and get started.
You will spend the next three months using every last shred of ability and talent that you have to start an organization that will grow and change the world.