The D-Prize team answers your top 5 questions about the Global Competition application process.
Do you assess impact based on the number of people reached or the quality of the impact each project will have on beneficiaries?
Answer: Both. It’s important to us that the measure of impact a single person has is significant (this is why we encourage entrepreneurs to distribute some of the proven poverty interventions we have already vetted in our challenges). We also believe that a vision to reach large numbers of people is equally important. The world has a large need, and reaching just a few dozen people will not tip the scale against poverty.
During the judging process, we evaluate teams based on the feasibility and clarity of their distribution plan (can you distribute a proven intervention, eventually reaching lots of people), and on the strength of their team (can you pull this off?).
Teams applying to the Global Competition should also be clear on their plans for scaling. A helpful step is to have some idea of how many beneficiaries they will strive to reach during the pilot and over the next two years.
Since teams will be distributing proven poverty interventions, we know that the quality of impact will be high. We are laser focused on promoting proven interventions so teams do not need to spend time proving the effectiveness of their product or service; they are free to focus on testing the distribution model in order to reach thousands of people.
Do you support already established and registered organizations? ........
Answer: Not usually. D-Prize exists to support new, even first-time, social entrepreneurs. When we do support existing organizations, we usually look for those that are less than 2 years old, or have raised less than $50,000. In only very rare cases to we support organizations past this stage and age.
Why is D-Prize different from other incubators or start-up funding competitions?
Answer: D-Prize is different from other organizations like Echoing Green supporting innovative social entrepreneurs for several important reasons:
1. We focus on distributing existing interventions, not creating new inventions, and we’re looking to support social entrepreneurs who do the same. Our team has done extensive research to identify 16 of the highest-impact interventions that improve people's lives. We know these interventions are high-impact because organizations like JPAL have conducted randomized control trials and other studies to determine just how each intervention improves quality of life, savings, or income. Getting these existing interventions out to people in need will immediately improve the lives of many people.
2. We focus on new entrepreneurs. We believe the next group of world changing entrepreneurs can come from anywhere, and they are most likely not discovered yet. We believe every great leader deserves a chance.
3. We focus on pilots. For large organizations, the amount of funding we offer (usually between $10,000 and $20,000) is too little to make a tangible impact in their operations. But for the people we seek to fund, this amount of startup funding will catalyze their pilot project and help to lay the foundation for a successful venture.
4. We view pilots as a series of experiments. When entrepreneurs apply to D-Prize, we know that there are pieces of your distribution plan that need to be tested to ensure they will work. In fact, we're looking for teams that can identify these sticky points and know how they might test their ideas during the pilot phase so that their organization is prepared to scale quickly and reach thousands, maybe millions, of people.
How do I demonstrate that our intervention is a proven model if there is no link online?
Answer: If your intervention is proven, there should be evidence, like a credible study, that supports it.
We receive many questions about our Custom Challenge. When applying, know that it is by far the toughest of our challenges. When writing your concept note, it is important to keep a few things in mind:
1. You can pick your own intervention, but this will take extra work. You will have to convince us that the intervention you want to distribute will have at least as much impact of the interventions in our current challengers.
2. You will still have to focus your plan on a distribution model. How will you make sure that the intervention you choose gets into the hands of as many people as possible? For instance, if your custom intervention requires that you do any R&D, or self-manufacturing first, we are unlikely to fund.
3. You will still have to think about reaching many people. For example, we would not fund the construction of a school. Classroom’s can only hold a select number of students and more schools are costly to build. We would, however, fund a concept note that details how you might distribute a "flipped classroom" curriculum that is cost-effective, portable, and scalable so that thousands of students can benefit.
I have experienced success in other competitions and programs. Why wasn't my initiative chosen by D-Prize?
Answer: D-Prize is a competitive competition, and we know, personally, that not winning funding after investing time into your submission can be crushing. We want to make a few promises:
We will strive to never waste an entrepreneur’s time. Our first round asks only for resumes and a short summary of your idea. We will only ask you to write a full proposal if we think you have greater than a 50% shot at receiving funding.
We will give as much feedback as we can. Any entrepreneur who submits a full Round 2 proposal will receive full feedback from our team, whether they receive funding or not. We unfortunately do not have the capacity to provide everyone who applies personal feedback (this would be a huge job), but we do promise to do our best to provide clear and simple directions on what ideas and teams we support.
We will consider supporting anyone or any team. Our world is large, and we believe world changing entrepreneurs will come from all corners, and from all backgrounds.