OSV Institute for Catholic Innovation announces the next phase of the 2021 OSV Challenge, a multi-round entrepreneurial competition designed to incubate unique project ideas in any stage from Catholics whose faith has motivated them to make a difference.
A record-breaking influx of nearly 600 applications were received between February 1 and April 2 from innovators eager to compete for one of three prizes valued at $100,000 each to advance their missions. A total of 182 applicants were selected to move forward to Round Two of the competition.
The OSV Challenge Serves The Church
“The OSV Challenge was created because we believe the world is desperate for innovative co-creation with our Creator,” asserts Jason Shanks, President of the OSV Institute for Catholic Innovation. “We are set on finding great ideas by finding people striving for greatness. Our mission is to discover and raise up Catholic innovators so that, through them and their initiatives, the Church can flourish and the world can encounter Christ’s love.”
The OSV Challenge process serves the Church by continuing to reveal needs and trends based on the applications received. The top three self-identified categories from applicants included marriage/parenting, fine arts, and Catholic education. Other areas of special interest such as Hispanic ministry, technology, and outreach to the disaffiliated (“nones”) were identified in which innovation was most needed; however, new themes emerged from this year’s applicants proposing creative ideas in areas that surprised the judges. “We had proposals for innovation in seminary education, mental health services, investment groups for Catholics, and a vast range of other interesting topics,” said Matt Smith, Director of Strategic Initiatives at OSV Institute for Catholic Innovation. “While we asked applicants to self-identify tracks in the application, we cast the innovation net wide, and we are glad we did. These ‘new themes’ reflect emerging needs within the Church and we want to ensure the Challenge is reflective of these.”
Evaluation Of Applications
Applications were evaluated by a panel of four judges according to a carefully crafted rubric developed around the core values of the OSV Challenge. Challengers invited to move forward to Round Two of the contest are tasked with a new mission to advance their ideas such as developing a business model canvas and submitting an empathy awareness video.
Initiatives selected to move beyond Round Two will be notified by June 25 and invited to participate in a six-week accelerator program for a group of 24 semi-finalists that will offer the next-level professional guidance, spiritual formation, and personal development needed to refine their mission for optimal impact on the Church and the world.
The OSV Challenge will culminate with the OSV Innovation Summit September 17-19 in Houston, when 12 finalists will have an opportunity to present their final pitches to a panel of judges and investors before the three $100,000 winning initiatives are announced. A new incentive announced for 2021 is the ability to earn additional prizes as contestants advance through the various stages of the Challenge.
About The OSV Institute
In 1915, Fr. John Francis Noll began OSV Institute to extend the reach of Our Sunday Visitor in service and support of Catholic organizations. Over $80 million has been granted to Catholic organizations to date. In 2021, the name evolved to OSV Institute for Catholic Innovation to better identify with a strategy evolution focusing on innovation. OSV Institute for Catholic Innovation continues to serve the Church by inspiring and encouraging innovative and effective Church.
Note: Press release is provides by Carrie Kline.