This Thursday, April 9, marks the third annual Boston College Venture Competition SEED Final Competition. As a branch of the BCVC, SEED stands as an acronym for “Social Entrepreneurs Envisioning Development,” and the competition serves to provide venture capital to the winners so that they may develop their innovative entrepreneurial ideas. This year, nineteen teams entered into the competition—a shocking difference from last year’s seven applicants—and six remain to face off in the competition tomorrow night.
Unlike the general BCVC, which is open to all different types of businesses, the SEED competition is specifically for enterprises focusing on social entrepreneurship. The groups that enter do seek to make a profit, but have a social mission behind them, such as education or healthcare.
“Personally, I think it’s interesting because this is a kind of different take on the idea of venture capital,” said Madeline Cortes, a member of SEED’s e-board and CSOM ’17. “Plus, it’s not just for CSOM students but for those of any major, letting them know that there is a place for them in the business world even if they may not be studying business here at school.”
One of the goals of BCVC SEED is to make the concept of social entrepreneurship on the Boston College campus more cohesive and better understood by the general student body. “It’s important for people to know that business is not always solely for profit, but that it can have significant social connotations,” said Cortes.
According to co-president Julia Lamberti, CSOM ’15, the SEED competition serves as a way for BC students to take their commitments to social justice and turn them into a means for progress. “So many students [at BC] volunteer in PULSE, Appa and other service-learning programs to deepen their understanding of social justice issues,” she said. “This is a very different way to do that. It’s not direct service, but it requires you to leverage the knowledge that you’ve gained at BC to tackle an issue you care about and work towards long-term social change.”
If you have an innovative idea to create social change but don’t know anything about business or entrepreneurship, that shouldn't deter you from entering the competition. “Interested students don’t need to feel intimidated or feel as thought they’d be entering this competition blindly—we offer resources, mentoring opportunities and support,” said Lamberti. “If you care about a social issue, we really encourage you to consider entering the competition [in the future]. It’s a great way to get involved in the field you care about and think of a way to help affect long-term social change.”
The final event of this year’s BCVC SEED Competition will be held Thursday, April 9 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Fulton Honors Library. There are six finalists who will each have six minutes to pitch their idea and another six minutes for questions and answers. Food and refreshments will be provided, and all are welcome to come watch and cheer on the competing teams.