Announcing the 2011 Dell Social Innovation Competition Finalists

We are pleased to announce the five Finalist teams of the Dell Social Innovation Competition. These teams will move on to compete for the $50,000 Dell Social Innovation Grand Prize on May 16th. These teams were chosen from more than 100 Semi-Finalists who each submitted a detailed venture plan and a video pitch.

This year we found a significant increase in the quality of venture plans submitted, thanks in large part to more than 100 Dell mentors who collectively gave more than 200 hours of their time to coach the students. To select the winning teams, our panel of 30 Semi-Final judges reviewed the venture plans on a 100-point scale such as : the innovativeness of the idea, quality of market research, sustainability of the financial model, proposed social impact measures and opportunity for scale and passion and persuasion of the team.

The Finalist teams all have incredible entrepreneurial skill and transformational ideas that will change the world. For example, Sanergy has developed a low-cost portable latrine system for use in slums in Kenya. By franchising these “sanitation centers†Sanergy not only contributes to solving sewage and related health problems but also enables poor entrepreneurs to generate income in the process.

Another Finalist team – Sanitation Solutions – empowers slum women in India by helping them to create microenterprises selling sanitary napkins for women. Sanitation Solutions facilitates the purchase of bulk sanitary napkins and trains the women on how to resell them within the slum. This becomes a sustainable source of earned income for the women entrepreneurs, and solves many health issues for women in the area as well.

You can watch all of the Finalist videos here.

The final event for this competition will take place on May 16th. Dell Chief Marketing Officer,

Karen Quintos,

will be among the distinguished panel of seven judges who will decide the recipients of more than $100,000 in prize money. In addition, the audience will select a $1,000 “People’s Choice†award based on SMS voting that night! You can join the conversation on Twitter at #DSIC11. We’ll be tweeting live from @Dellsocialinnov.

About the Author: Suzi Sosa