CASE Launch Pad

In addition to Duke resources such as the Duke Startup Challenge, CASE awards the annual CASE Launch Pad prize – $10,000 plus coaching – to help Duke MBA social entrepreneurs vault their ideas forward.

CASE Launch Pad Recipients:

Learn more about our past recipients by clicking on their profiles.

joy-anena-odongpiny-2016-case-launch-pad    anne-steptoe-2015-case-launch-pad

frederico-rizzo-2014-case-launch-pad    rachel-lichte-2013-case-launch-pad


The CASE Launch Pad includes a $10,000 grant, plus one-on-one coaching from CASE Senior Fellow and author Dan Heath (Made to Stick, Switch, Decisive , The Power of Moments).

The CASE Launch Pad is only available to current Fuqua students (though you may be part of a broader team, see FAQs below). We encourage applications that represent any of the following social venture stages:

  • Investigation Stage: You do not have an idea for a venture yet, but you have a passion for a certain domain that you want to further explore and believe could evolve into a venture.
  • Idea Stage: You have an idea for a venture that you have not yet begun operating, though you have done initial research, may have developed business plans, etc.
  • Operating Stage: You have a venture now that you are looking to scale.

The Launch Pad is not designed to reward an elaborate PowerPoint presentation or prose; it is intended to fund the smartest plan of action.  The grant can be spent at the student’s (or team’s) discretion, either for direct expenses or to fund your time. (For example, using the money to pay one’s expenses over the summer, in lieu of an internship, would be fine.) Furthermore, the winner will receive at least 60 minutes of coaching from Dan Heath every month from March to August.

2018 Application process:

  • A 2-3 page (short but rigorous) application due February 11.
  • The top applicants will be interviewed on February 22.
  • The winner is announced by February 26.

Winners will be selected based on the thoughtfulness of their proposed plan. For instance, is it achievable? Is it measurable? Would the plan, if executed, yield critical insight towards creating a venture idea or give progress to a budding social venture? Remember that the stage of your idea is less important than demonstrating a well thought out plan on carrying the idea forward.

The Fine Print:  Applicants to the CASE Launch Pad must be current Duke Fuqua Daytime MBA students.   CASE reserves the right not to award the prize in any year if appropriate candidates are not found.

Download the application


Q: Who is eligible for the CASE Launch Pad?
A: Any Fuqua Daytime MBA student.  First Years and Second Years are eligible.   If joint degree student, you must be enrolled at Fuqua this year to be eligible (or have completed a year at Fuqua already).

Q: Can I apply with a team?
A: Yes, you can apply for the CASE Launch Pad as an individual or as a team. Your team can include non-Fuqua individuals but the Launch Pad recipient must be a Fuqua student. Our expectation is that the Fuqua student is utilizing and managing the Launch Pad funds and is the recipient of the one-on-one mentoring throughout the Spring/Summer.

Q: Seed funding is great! Are there other places I can compete for funding?
A: There are several other avenues students with social venture ideas can pursue!

In particular you can submit your idea to:

  • If you are a Duke student with a social venture idea, you should consider applying to the Social Ventures track of the Duke Startup Challenge.
  • Echoing Green also has a fellowship program to fund and support early stage social entrepreneurs (deadline usually early Jan).
  • The Hult Prize offers $1 million in funding with call for applications typically beginning in March
  • The Dell Social Innovation Challenge has spun out of the University of Texas at Austin into its own social enterprise, Verb. Check out their website for details on upcoming competitions –
  • Executive summaries for entry in the Global Social Venture Competition are due in January
  • A global competition called the D-Prize funds social venture ideas based on specific distribution challenges.