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2009 MIT IDEAS COMPETITION
The MIT IDEAS Competition is a nationally recognized, annual competition that provides an opportunity for the MIT community to develop and pursue creative ideas that make a positive impact in the world. Participants work in teams to develop designs, plans, strategies, materials and mechanisms that benefit communities locally, nationally or internationally. The Competition is open to everyone, but at least one third of each team must be full-time MIT students. The Competition also enables faculty, mentors, community partners and expert judges to collaborate at different levels around these unique, hands-on projects.
THE “MICROFINANCE CHALLENGE”
For the first time in 2009, the MIT IDEAS competition will have a track specifically focused on Microfinance. This challenge track, called the Microfinance Symposium and Innovation Challenge (or the “Microfinance Challenge”), is being sponsored by the MIT Public Service Center in partnership with the MicroLoan Foundation USA, which provides microfinance services in Malawi, Zambia and the Philippines. The goal of the Microfinance Challenge is to involve the MIT community and its partners in the challenges of poverty alleviation by engaging them in thinking through and developing technology- and business-based solutions to address the key challenges confronting micro-lending in the developing world. We are seeking ideas that are innovative, practical, and most importantly – with a focus on effective implementation and delivery. The winning student team(s) will be granted a cash prize to implement their proposals.
The 2009 IDEAS COMPETITION TIMELINE:
Microfinance Symposium - March 9, 2009
Initial proposals Due - 15th of each month through March
Letter of Intent Due – April 2, 2009
Final Entries Due - April 15, 2009
Project Displays and Judging Session – April 27, 2009
Awards Ceremony – May 4, 2009
Winners Retreat – May 26-27, 2009
HOW TO GET INVOLIVED
If you are interested in becoming an IDEAS entrant and looking to form student teams:
· email firstname.lastname@example.org
· visit http://mit.edu/ideas
· stop by the Public Service Center at MIT
· share ideas and learn more at the March 9th Microfinance Symposium (7:00-9:00PM, MIT Stata Center. RSVP email@example.com)
· join online discussions and find teams: www.Ned.com/groups/microfinance
If you are interested in becoming a mentor or sponsorship opportunities please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the MicroLoan Foundation
The MicroLoan Foundation USA was founded in January 2008 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is supported through a partnership with the MicroLoan Foundation UK, which was founded in 2002. The MicroLoan Foundation USA, whose motto is “empowering women through entrepreneurship,” is a traditional non-profit microfinance institution lending to poor women in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa to encourage and support entrepreneurship and self-sustainable livelihood. Since 2002, the MicroLoan Foundation has administered over 25,000 loans and directly assisted more than 12,000 women. For more information, visit www.microloanfoundation.org.
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