Jacobs Impact Entrepreneur Prize

The Jacobs Impact Entrepreneur Prize has a new home at Penn with the
Penn GSE Education Entrepreneurship Program
Visit their website for more information.

Ready to launch or expand your social enterprise? The Jacobs Impact Entrepreneur Prize gives you the funding and network to power your start-up.

Funded by the Jacobs Foundation, the award gives select Wharton MBA students financial and practical support to develop and launch their own social impact ventures, preferably in the education sector.

As an awardee, you will receive a cash award and join the community of Jacobs Fellows—allowing you to share knowledge and experiences with a network of leaders from all over the world.

Application Deadline

February 1, 2021 at 11:59pm EST


Wharton or dual degree MBA students, class of 2022

Prizes Awarded

$5,000-$50,000 toward your social venture

Catalyze your social venture so you can continue your impact after graduation.

Why You Should Apply

To develop, launch, and scale your impact venture, you’ll need funding and a network of supporters and advisors. As an awardee, you’ll receive both the financial support and the global community of Jacobs Fellows to help you power your startup.

The Jacobs Impact Entrepreneur Prize gives you a two-year runway – over the course of your MBA studies – to establish your social enterprise.

Here’s how it works: Each year, three first-year Wharton MBA students will be selected as Jacobs Prize Fellows, receiving $5,000 in support to develop their start-up. During their second year as MBA students, one of these three Fellows will receive additional funding of $45,000 to launch or scale their start-up. Pertinent taxes apply.

Learn More & Apply
  • The application period is from September 1st through February 1st.
  • Top candidates will be interviewed in February, with winners announced in March.
  • Applicants must be current Wharton MBA students. Dual degree students qualify.

Breakdown of the two year program

2018–2019 academic year
  • Three 1st year MBA winners receive $5,000
2019–2020 academic year
  • Three 1st year MBA winners receive $5,000
  • One 2nd year MBA from the 2018-2019 awardees receives $45,000
2020–2021 academic year
  • Three 1st year MBA winners receive $5,000
  • One 2nd year MBA from the 2019-2020 awardees receives $45,000
2021–2022 academic year
  • One 2nd year MBA from the 2020-2021 awardees receives $45,000

“We are excited to see the changes and impact that Wharton MBA students will achieve with the new Jacobs Impact Entrepreneur Prize.”



How is the Jacobs Impact Entrepreneur Prize structured?

The program is structured to create a cohort of Wharton MBA students with a commitment to launching or refining a social enterprise, preferably in the education sector.

Awardees are entrepreneurial Wharton MBA students who would like to or have already launched a social impact start-up.

Three first-year MBAs will be selected to receive $5,000 in funding for their social venture. One awardee of this group will be selected to receive the grand prize (an additional $45,000) during their second year, after demonstrating their commitment to and progress of the venture.

All winners will join the cohort of Jacobs Fellows. Winners will have an opportunity to meet other Jacobs Fellows during a weeklong session in Switzerland* and be able to participate in other networking and career opportunities. Prize recipients will become a valuable addition to the Jacobs Network and contribute to the Foundation’s thematic priorities.

*Please note: due to COVID-19, this opportunity is currently conducted virtually.

When can I apply?

The application opens September 1st. Applications are accepted until Feb. 1st at 11:59pm EST. Late submissions will not be considered.

What is the Jacobs Foundation?

The Jacobs Foundation invests in the future of young people so that they become socially responsible and productive members of society. Learn more at www.jacobsfoundation.org.

Are there preferred geographies or areas of focus?

  • The Foundation has a preference for ventures focusing on Europe, Africa, or the US.
  • Ventures with an educational component are preferred.

How can I use the prize money?

Winners of the Jacobs Impact Entrepreneur Prize may use prize money for any expense related to their social impact start-up. This may include business expenses and salary. Pertinent taxes apply.

Am I eligible?

Are you a first year Wharton MBA student (in either the regular or executive program) interested in launching a social impact venture when you graduate? Or are you already working on your enterprise? As long as you plan on continuing your career as a social entrepreneur after graduating with your Wharton MBA, you’re eligible!

Both for-profit and hybrid ventures qualify, though financial sustainability beyond prize funding is a consideration in selecting the winners.

How do I apply?

You can apply online on the Wharton Social Impact Initiative website. We will not consider late applications, nor will we review or recognize materials submitted in any format other than the formal application.

How will my application be evaluated?

In reviewing your application, we will be evaluating the venture and the entrepreneur.

  • We will look at the social impact of your venture—how well have you identified the problem and the need, and how likely it is that your venture will be a successful intervention?
  • We will evaluate your business and revenue models—will your venture be sustainable?
  • We will also evaluate the entrepreneurs. We know that being an entrepreneur—and especially a social entrepreneur—requires a blend of passion, commitment, business savvy, persistence, willingness to pivot and to learn, so we will be looking for those aspects in you.
  • Because receiving the award will mean that you will become a member of a larger cohort of Jacobs Fellows, we will be seeking awardees who are additive to that cohort.
  • And, we will look at how closely your social venture aligns with the thematic priorities of the Jacobs Foundation.

Note: this prize is awarded to an entrepreneur, not a team. Ventures that are created by teams are accepted, but the application must be submitted by one individual and only that individual will receive the award and admission into the Jacobs Fellowship.

Who will review the applications?

A team of reviewers from Wharton Social Impact will complete an initial review of applications. From there, a diverse team of reviewers—including representatives from the Jacobs Foundation, Wharton, and industry leaders—will complete a secondary review and will select the awardees.

Become the next change-maker of your generation.