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A Contest For Social Entrepreneurs Without New Ideas

A Contest For Social Entrepreneurs Without New Ideas
Kelly Rakowski/Co.Exist (Illustration)

You can’t win the D-Prize with new ideas. It is a $20,000 award for getting old ideas–“proven ideas”–into the hands of the poor people that need them.

“D stands for distribution or development,” D-Prize board member Andrew Youn wrote in an announcement post. “They’re basically the same thing.”

To be distributed: solar lighting, schistosomiasis medicine and field workers to lead “sugar daddy awareness” conversations. (The conversations are for girls, not aspiring daddies, and are a proven method for reducing teen pregnancy.) One possible challenge is to improve supply chain management for vaccine distribution.

Those kinds of logistical problem aren’t quite as sexy as, say, reinventing the condom. But they’re just as important, according to program director Nicholas Fusso.

“Henry Ford is remembered as an innovator not because he invented the automobile, but because he made it accessible to countless numbers of people,” says Fusso. “D-Prize is challenging entrepreneurs to innovate and be the next Henry Ford of poverty alleviation.”

Fusso says the applicants so far include grad students at MIT and Harvard, an agricultural consultant in India and an entrepreneur with developing world experience.

Other aspiring Henry Fords can apply until April 30.SA