Apply to the Forbes Under 30 $1M Change the World Competition

The Challenge

The Forbes Under 30 $1 Million Change the World Competition is the largest ever for young social entrepreneurs.

Five or six finalists, selected from the complete pool of competitors, will receive a cash award of $100,000 USD. They will then compete on-stage at the Forbes Under 30 Summit in Philadelphia on October 6, 2015 in front of 2,000 world-class mentors and the best young entrepreneurs and game-changers in the world, as culled from the Forbes 30 Under 30 lists.  

The overall winner will receive at least $400,000 USD in additional cash and in-kind support, bringing their award total to at least $500,000 USD, and the overall award total to $1,000,000 USD.

The competition calls on social entrepreneurs with disruptive and scalable ideas with the potential to change the world. It is open to both nonprofit and for-profit enterprises. This is not a business plan competition – organizations or companies must already be in operation and the prize money should be utilized to accelerate the most promising ideas.

All submissions must be submitted on Applications will be screened by the Wharton Social Impact Initiative of the University of Pennsylvania. The finalists will be announced in early September, before competing on the main stage at the Forbes Under 30 Summit on October 6.


Judging Criteria

True to the competition’s name, this challenge seeks innovative models that attack big problems with solutions that are scalable. The competition is looking for exceptional teams executing bold ideas with the potential to make a huge impact. Judges are looking for solutions in the areas of education, extreme poverty, sustainability, global health and any other number of other social problems.



The challenge will award a total of $1,000,000 USD in cash and in-kind prizes. The awards and/or investments will come from the following Sponsoring Organizations: The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, the Case Foundation, the Pratt Foundation, the Keywell Foundation and entrepreneur Bob Duggan, plus an in-kind advertising grant from Forbes.

  • Five or six $100,000 USD prizes (or equivalent); and
  • One $400,000 USD prize (or equivalent) to the overall winner
  • Finalists will be invited to participate in the Under 30 Impact Lab – an afternoon during which the attendees at the Under 30 Summit will work with challenge finalists to help them solve problems and accelerate their growth.

Nonprofit prizes:

Nonprofits will receive their cash award in the form of a grant or other charitable commitment (subject to the terms and conditions of the respective sponsoring organizations).

For-profit prizes:

For-profit companies will receive their cash award in the form of an investment, in the form of equity at the same valuation and on the same terms as their current or previous funding round, or if no funding round is underway, in the form of a convertible note. The investment will be completed no later than 60 days following the announcement of the winner.

In-kind prizes:

In-kind awards, as part of the grand prize, will be given to the company outright, without any equity consideration.


Challenge Schedule

July 22, 2015: Challenge opens

August 26, 2015: Submissions deadline, 11:59PM Eastern Time

September 9, 2015: Finalists announced

October 6, 2015: Forbes Under 30 Summit and Winners Announced

Applicants who make the first cut-off will be asked for follow-up information; telephone interviews may be requested. Finalists will be notified by September 9 and must be able to travel to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from October 5-6, 2015 for the Forbes Under 30 Summit. A full-pass to the Summit will be provided; finalists are responsible for their own travel expenses. International applicants need to be mindful of visa and other logistics issues.



The challenge is open to:

  • Active social entrepreneurs who were born after October 6, 1985, who are a founder, co-founder, or top executive of their organization.
  • Applicants from anywhere in the world.
  • Those who are already actively engaged in a social enterprise – this is not a business plan contest, but rather one that will reward and accelerate those entrepreneurs already making a difference.
  • Both nonprofit and for-profit social entrepreneurs – finalists will come from both categories.

The deadline for submissions to the Forbes Under 30 $1 Million Change the World Competition is Wednesday, August 26, 2015, at 11:59PM Eastern Time. Click here to apply.

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