When we ask student entrepreneurs what it takes to succeed, they usually emphasize the same two things. No, the two essentials are not “getting more sleep” and “having more time” — although, we wouldn’t be surprised if these are needs #3 and #4. The two things student entrepreneurs tell us they need are funding to sustain the development of their venture and a network of supporters and advisors to lean on.
That’s why Wharton Social Impact is thrilled to partner with the Swiss-based Jacobs Foundation — an organization that invests in the future of young people so that they become socially responsible and productive members of society — on the Jacobs Impact Entrepreneur Prize.
“We are excited to see the changes and impact that Wharton MBA students will achieve with the Jacobs Impact Entrepreneur Prize,” said Dr. Urs Arnold, the Foundation’s head of operations.
A cohort of three selected first-year MBA awardees from the Class of 2022 will receive an initial $5,000 stipend to support their venture development. We’ll follow the journey of these three “Jacobs Fellows” as they develop, launch, and/or scale their social ventures. During their second year as MBA students, one of these three Fellows will receive additional funding of $45,000 to launch or scale their startup. A total award of $50,000 can be the catalyst needed for a student to develop their enterprise so they can make a positive social impact on the world.
But funding is just half the picture. Awardees also become part of a global network of Jacobs Fellows that they can lean on for support and advising, while expanding their community of like-minded peers. They’ll even have the opportunity to access professional development and attend “Swiss Week” — a weeklong networking and learning session. The opportunity to be included in this diverse global community sets the Jacobs Prize apart from other programs.
“I benefitted immensely and would strongly encourage anyone with an idea that combines both business and social good to apply,” said Jacobs Fellow Divya Balaji Kamerkar, WG’21. “The network provides opportunities to connect with and learn from like-minded Fellows from all over the world. Through connecting with other Fellows, it is also a powerful platform to expand your business geographically and conceptually.”
David Lawrence, WG’21, another Jacobs Fellow, added, “It has been a transformative experience that I would recommend strongly. The leadership at the Foundation wants to be your thought partner, they want to connect you with people who can help you, and they want you to have an impact.”
— Nisa Nejadi
Posted: January 1, 2021