Submissions for the OSV Innovation Challenge are open until April 2, and the Challenge can be a source of hope for us all.
Applications are open until April 2 for the OSV Institute’s Innovation Challenge, calling on Catholic entrepreneurs to submit their “napkin idea” for a chance to win $100,000 in support of their mission. The Challenge’s promotional video explains their mission with an energy and excitement that can inspire all of us in the Church:
The goal of the challenge is to support ambitious, interesting projects bringing about “meaningful, positive influence” in the Church and the world. It’s a direct and practical encouragement of the “new evangelization” of which St. John Paul II spoke.
The challenge, established in partnership with Catholic Creatives, Notre Dame IDEA Center, and SENT Ventures, brought in over 350 applicants last year, who went through an intense selection process. Three winners were each awarded $100,000 to support their work.
Thinking about applying, but not sure your project is developed enough? It turns out that’s not a problem:
We are looking for innovative project ideas that you’re determined to unleash into the world. Emphasis on the word idea. Bring us your restaurant napkin sketches, your late-night brainstorms, your pipe dreams and unfinished thoughts, even your up-and-running businesses that need a little help getting further off the ground. We want it all. The contest and prize can help turn your ideas into reality or launch ongoing projects to new heights.
The OSV Institute for Catholic Innovation is committed to building up Catholic innovators with the professional guidance, spiritual formation, and personal development needed to accelerate initiatives that will make the biggest impact on the Church and the world.
“We are not aiming to fund the next good idea, but to invest in people—emerging innovators and seasoned trailblazers—by forming a new generation of entrepreneurs who are not afraid to relook at how we encounter and evangelize the truth and beauty of the Catholic Church,” said OSV Institute President Jason Shanks. “The Church has always been at the forefront of great ideas—hospital systems, schools and universities, missions, shrines, and some of the greatest art known to man. The OSV Challenge is a search for Catholic innovators with world-changing ideas.”
The Church has played a decisive role in many historical crises, which is powerfully highlighted in the Challenge’s promotional video. The video reminds us,
We have a master who was so down and out even his friends left him to die, and when they put him in the ground, he made the greatest comeback in history. We are people made for comebacks. We live for the last quarter, and they even named that crazy game-changing throw “The Hail Mary,” after our mother.
The hardships of the present are considerable, and it might seem that many creatives are stretched too thin to consider innovating. As the video says,
We’re going through some hard times. We’ve got scandals. We’ve got a plague that’s making us sick. We’re scared for our jobs … Why are you telling me to innovate now? I know you’ve been dealing with a whole lot of hell.
But this is exactly why the moment is ripe for innovation that brings hope and joy into a challenging time. The “napkin idea” you have today could be a catalyst to change countless lives for the better, especially with the incredible support of the Innovation Challenge. The video ends with this rousing call to action:
Just think! When your great-great-grandkids are picking confirmation saints, it’s you they’re going to want to be named after. So let’s innovate together for the love of the world.