Seeding Student Social Entrepreneurs

What would happen if we put the energy, creativity, and intelligence of Duke MBA students towards solving some of the world’s most pressing problems? What ideas would they come up with and what impact could they have?

In order to help our students explore their ideas, CASE launched the CASE Seed Prize – a combination of money and coaching that is intended to help Duke MBA social entrepreneurs vault their ideas forward. Specifically, the Prize comes with a $10,000 grant, plus one-on-one coaching from CASE Senior Fellow and author Dan Heath (author of Made to Stick, Switch, and Decisive).

When we opened the application this year, we received ideas ranging from innovative for-profit and nonprofit business models to “ideas on a napkin.” They tackled issues from global health, to poverty alleviation, to energy efficiency and much more. The students’ ideas were diverse, but what they all had in common was their passion and drive to make the world a better place.

From the many applications submitted, three finalists were interviewed and then the judges were faced with the daunting challenge of selecting amongst these great entrants.  And now, drumroll please …  

We are proud to announce the 2013 CASE Seed Prize winner, Rachel Lichte and The Clarity Project!

The Clarity Project is a fair jewelry company that sources fair diamonds, gems, and metals, makes and sells fine jewelry, and invests the net profits into mining communities for primary education, adult literacy, and sustainable agriculture. In Rachel’s words:

“While the idea for The Clarity Project may be bold, the case is fundamental. Nobody should suffer for another person’s luxury. People should be fairly compensated for their work. Consumers should have choices. And yet, the diamond industry has neglected this. Global diamond supply chains are saturated with injustice – social, economic, political, environmental; billions of dollars are pulled out of the ground, yet money fails to reach the local economy. We founded The Clarity Project to create a jewelry alternative consumers could feel confident in and to help diamonds work for community development.”

“With the CASE Seed Prize, I’ll have the opportunity to work with an amazing mentor and spend time applying what I have learned at Duke to determine the pathway forward for The Clarity Project.”

The CASE team is excited to work with Rachel to help drive The Clarity Project forward and help her and her team create impact in the lives of consumers and communities around the world.

To learn more about the CASE Seed Prize (since renamed CASE Launch Pad), visit:

To learn more about Rachel and her venture, see her recent TED-style talk at the CASE 10th anniversary celebration: “Seeking Clarity