Dell Awards $5 Million to Expand Social Innovation Competition at University of Texas

The University of Texas at Austin has announced a five-year, $5 million grant from Dell to expand the scope of the Dell Social Innovation Competition at the university's RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service.

The largest cash donation in the company's history will enable DSIC to design and develop a global Web site to host the competition and provide a library of entrepreneurship resources for students and universities. In partnership with the Social Innovation Initiative at Brown University's Howard R. Swearer Center for Public Service, DSIC also will develop a fellowship program designed to build the capacity of high-potential ideas and entrepreneurs. Through the program, fifteen of the most promising semi-finalists who do not qualify for finals will receive one-on-one mentoring, an all-expenses-paid week of in-person training, and a stipend for summer fieldwork related to their idea.

DSIC was established in 2007 as the RGK Social Innovation Competition, which invited teams of students in Texas to submit ideas for how to solve the world's most pressing social problems; the winners were given seed money to turn their ideas into nonprofits and businesses. In 2008, the competition expanded nationally, and by 2010 — with support from Dell — it had received seven hundred entries representing thirty-eight countries.

"We are most grateful to Dell for being outstanding partners on this exciting journey of empowering and engaging students around the world in social entrepreneurship, a new way of tackling global social and environmental problems," said Peter Frumkin, director of the center and co-creator of DSIC. "Now, through their generous contribution, we embark on a new phase of rapid global growth for the program, whereby students worldwide combine their deep understanding of the issues with creativity, leadership, and know-how to solve some of the world's most pressing problems."