What a Great Idea! Contest
What a Great Idea!
A contest to support innovation in human services.
The 3rd Annual What A Great Idea! Contest is accepting submissions through Friday, September 27, 2013. Submit your great idea today for a chance to win consulting services from a graduate student team! Winners will be announced at the Council's 38th Annual Convention on November 6, 2013.
The Providers’ Council’s What a Great Idea! Contest aims to support innovation and social enterprise in Massachusetts human services by helping provider agencies bring their innovative ideas to fruition. Social enterprises use business methods to help achieve their social missions and serve diverse clientele. Such endeavors have the potential to diversify revenue streams in organizations, provide new work opportunities for clients and consumers, increase efficiency and cost effectiveness, and create more jobs in the human services sector.
What a Great Idea! Contest winner(s) will receive consulting services from graduate students at local universities. Services received will depend upon the project and could include a feasibility study, marketing plan, business plan, strategic plan, etc.
Check out our previous contest winners:
- Full Circle ARTS, a retail and online store featuring eco-friendly artwork and other creative products made and sold by adults with disabilities.
"The collaboration with the BU Team gave us tremendous momentum and confidence, raised the profile of the project within JRI and provided us with a blue print for implementation. The team’s business plan provided us with key development information, including financial data, sales benchmarks, goals for product development, market research, and an operational marketing strategy." - Deirdre Hunter, Justice Resource Institute
- Cloud4Causes, an IT services business which provides IT services and network administration to peer nonprofits.
"Student work provided some good market data that changed our thinking about the optimal customer in terms of size and IT needs." - Mike Moloney, HMEA
- The Cafe at Whole Children, a cafe that serves as a job-training site for teens and young adults with developmental disabilities and a community social hub and gathering place featuring talent shows, art openings, and performance opportunities.
- The Amego, Inc. Coffee Shop, which provides employment opportunities for individuals in Amego's Day Programss and offers Fair Trade coffee and baked goods.
"The students assigned to create our business plan for the café were extremely positive, energetic, available, and committed to providing us with a plan that is both useful and effective in helping us achieve our long term goals." - Bill Barefoot, Amego, Inc.
Thank you to our 2012 contest sponsors!
Public and Nonprofit MBA Program, Boston University School of Management
Masters of Public Administration Program, College of Professional and Continuing Education, Clark University
In order to be considered, ideas must:
- Be innovative, new, and creative.
- Serve the human services community of the Commonwealth.
- Be feasible: the parent agency must demonstrate that they have the capacity and plans to support the project and bring this idea to fruition beyond the contest.
- Be aligned with the parent organization’s mission as a human service provider.
- Further self-sufficiency for the parent organization.
- Be able to commit 8-10 hours of staff time each week that the 14 week consulting project is in progress. This will likely be spread out over multiple staff members.
- Be connected to a human service agency based in Massachusetts that is a Providers Council Member. Not a member?
All ideas must be brand new - the scaling up of an existing social enterprise is not an eligible entry for this contest. All agencies must be members of the Providers’ Council to be eligible to win. Agencies represented on the ISE committee are not eligible to participate.
For more information, please contact Rachel Melikan at 617.428.3637 x125.