CUBE 5.0 Application

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Application instructions: Please read all of the following information carefully. The application questions will be at the end. You and your team members (if applicable) will also be required to send an updated resume(s) directly to Jaki Bonilla at

The CUBE 5.0 program at the Campus Y, in collaboration with Innovate Carolina and Public Policy, is looking for undergraduate and graduate students interested in learning and developing social innovation and entrepreneurial skills while creating a social venture. Social innovation is more than just thinking about and producing a business idea or product - it's about collaborating and creating ethical solutions to issues with communities for a greater good. We are looking for students with a commitment to social good to join us for 1 year of specialized programming and nurturing support, including 6 credit hours of dedicated instruction, seed funding, 1:1 mentoring, capacity building workshops, among other opportunities. Applications will be open from March 4th, 2019 to April 1st, 2019. If you have any questions during the process, please reach out to the Social Innovations Initiative Coordinator, Jaki Bonilla, at We will also be available for office hours upon request to address any questions about your challenge/issue statement or the application.

*Interested faculty and staff should also reach out directly to Jaki Bonilla.
What will the program entail?

CUBE 5.0 will consist of 12 months of specialized programming and support across three phases for up to 10 Tar Heel teams generating impactful social ventures:

Phase 1: Summer 2019 - Inspiration: Understand + Define - Students will explore your mindset, assumptions and biases that you bring to your social innovation solution.
  • Virtual summer programming to connect the CUBE 5.0 cohort community, learn best practices used by social innovators, and develop personal goals through curated readings, discussion, and reflection. (~2 hr/week)
  • 1-day cohort retreat before the Fall 2019 semester.
Phase 2: Fall 2019 - Ideation: Design + Prototype + Test - Students will focus on proving feasibility of their solution and ensuring that it meets the needs of end users and beneficiaries.
  • Take PLCY 435 Design for Impact: Social Enterprise Lab taught by Prof. Melissa Carrier, Professor of Practice, Public Policy and Director of Social Innovation at Innovate Carolina.
    • Occurs Fridays 9 AM - 12 PM
  • Attend Bi-weekly workshops and speaker series
  • Participate in Global Entrepreneurship Week and Carolina Challenge
Phase 3: Spring 2020 - Implementation: Pilot + Iterate - Launch your solution into the field with a focus on demonstrating long-term viability. Students will spend the semester in an entrepreneurial environment with other CUBE ventures working rigorously on their projects. During this time, students will develop agreed-upon deliverables and be prepared to scale their solution by the end of the semester.
  • Take Independent Study/Experiential Learning, 3-credit course. Faculty leader: Melissa Carrier. There may be an opportunity to place your independent study in your major where applicable.
  • Attend bi-weekly workshops and speaker series.
  • Participate in the Innovation Showcase.
  • Evaluating next steps -> Pursuing a summer accelerator or other opportunities.
During these three phases, CUBE will be offering the following programming:
  • Course credit: A 3-credit hour course in the Fall 2019 (PLCY 435) and a 3-credit hour Independent Study in the Spring 2020.
  • Seed funding: Access to seed funding and travel stipends through Innovate Carolina and the Campus Y of up to $5,000.
  • Co-working space: Year-round 24/7 access to the 1789 Labs space on Franklin Street.
  • Individualized assistance and mentorship: Network of coaches and mentors for support in developing and refining your understanding of the problem and the development of your social venture.
  • Capacity building workshops: Example topics include: measuring impact, grant writing and compliance, financial management and fundraising, the power of storytelling, strategic planning, building highly effective teams, mindfulness for social impact, and many more.
  • Priority consideration for Launch Chapel Hill for ventures poised for acceleration during Summer 2020.
  • Collaboration with other dedicated Tar Heels and CUBE teams.
Competition Timeline
Early March                        Social Innovation Challenge opens
April 1                               Applications due; Social Innovation Challenge closes
April 2-14                         Application review; Semi-Finalists invited for additional conversation
Mid April                           Finalists notified
Mid April - May                 Class registration open; Finalists register for PLCY 435 or prepare for independent                                                  study


Social Innovation: A novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than existing solutions and for which the value created accrues primarily to society as a whole rather than to private individuals. From Phillis, Deiglmeier, and Miller in "Rediscovering Social Innovation," Stanford Social Innovation Review, Fall 2008
Social Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurship that creates and sustains social value (not just private value); recognizes and relentlessly pursues new opportunities to serve that mission; acts boldly without being limited by resources currently in hand; and exhibits heightened accountability to the constituencies served and for the outcomes created. From Dees, J. Gregory in "The Meaning of 'Social Entrepreneurship'," published by the Kauffman Foundation and Stanford University, October 1998
Innovation: The successful implementation of a novel, valuable idea. This definition emphasizes the equal importance of three elements: novel - valuable - implemented. In the context of our University, innovation is summarized as: Important ideas put to use for the public good.
Impact: The desired result of innovation, which is positive change for citizens of North Carolina and the world. Impacts can range from direct economic gains (job creation, greater efficiency) to improving the standards of living or quality of life in other ways.
Entrepreneurship: Creating an enterprise to deliver a product, service, or process valued by a specific audience, without regard for the resources currently at hand.
Entrepreneurial mindset: A way of thinking that questions the status quo, converts problems to opportunities by finding new and better actions, convinces others to support the new approach, perseveres through the hurdles and accepts ambiguity and risk as part of the disruption process. The entrepreneurial mindset - and its related skill set - can be applied in any working environment, not only in startup ventures.

Competition / Application Questions

Identifying and Describing the Issue

Missing Information & Needs

Venture Development

Lead Applicant Information


2nd Teammate Information


3rd Teammate Information


4th Teammate Information


5th Teammate Information


6th Teammate Information