Dell Social Innovation Challenge
In 2007, The University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs kicked off a small in-house business plan competition. Just two years later in 2009, Dell gave the university a $5 million grant (the largest corporate gift from Dell to UT Austin at the time), and the business plan competition was renamed the Dell Social innovation Challenge.
Verb: then and now
Verb is the modern-day evolution of the Dell Challenge, having spun out of UT Austin in 2013 to offer the global prize competition model to a variety of brands who want to create impact across different industries.
Global Reach and Impact
Prior to the Dell Challenge transitioning into Verb in 2013, the competition expanded from 2007 on to include 20,000 student entrepreneurs from over 100 countries across the world, awarded $800,000 in seed funding to more than 90 ventures and engaged over 2,000 Dell employees as competition judges and mentors.
Transforming Employee Engagement
Beyond the lasting social impact created by Dell Challenge student entrepreneurs, the mentoring experience between volunteer Dell employees and student ventures was incredibly meaningful.
As the appointed Dell employee mentor to Dell Challenge 2013 Second Place Winner team Foot Soldiers from Bangladesh; Ashish Malpani is a U.S.-based Product Senior Consultant. Acting as a sounding board for team Foot Soldiers through the semi-final and final rounds of Dell Challenge, Malpani engaged with them initially through emails and Skype.
“Ashish was a fantastic resource, working closely with us every step of the way. One of the best things he taught us was to look at our project from the eyes of an investor. Ashish was such a strong mentor and we would appreciate the opportunity to work with him in the future as we set up our business.” – Saqif Nayeem Khan, Team Member, Foot Soldiers