Join the optiMize Challenge!
Welcome to optiMize. Applications for this year's Social Innovation Challenge are due October 10. We're glad you're interested in joining!

Please complete this form as well as you can. Don't worry about making your application perfect — we accept everyone and this is just a first step!


Frequently Asked Questions:

AM I TOO YOUNG/OLD FOR THIS? optiMize is open to all Michigan students! We work with everyone from freshmen to PhD candidates from all 19 schools and colleges at Michigan, plus students from UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint! You can also have non-UM students on your team.

WHAT KINDS OF PROJECTS DOES OPTIMIZE SUPPORT? optiMize accepts a wide range of projects and ideas — you can start a nonprofit, a startup company, a student organization, a new initiative in an existing organization, or even a creative project. Your focus can be on whatever matters most to you — whether that's related to education, social justice, health, sustainability, or any other positive social impact you can think of!

HOW DEVELOPED DOES MY IDEA NEED TO BE? We accept people at all stages! Whether you have a project you're already working on, an idea you'd like to start, a problem you're passionate about solving, or a desire to find a project to join, optiMize can help you take your next steps and bring your ideas to life. If you're thinking, "I'm probably not developed enough" or "I'm probably too developed," there's no need to worry — just go ahead and submit.

WHAT DOES OPTIMIZE PROVIDE? We'll provide skill-building workshops, access to experienced mentors, and a supportive community of peers. By the end of the Challenge, you'll have the opportunity to pitch for up to $20,000 in funding.

DO I NEED A TEAM TO APPLY? No, you can apply as an individual! We do eventually encourage most people to recruit teammates, because a project is often more likely to succeed when it has a team behind it. If you’re solo and looking for teammates, we’ll help you learn recruitment skills and introduce you to a network of people who might join you.

WHEN ARE APPLICATIONS DUE? Applications are due October 10th, 2019 at 11:59 PM. We'll reach out to you with next steps once you submit!



Stop waiting for someone else to change the world. Ask yourself, "Why not me?" and submit your application today.
Project/Idea Information
Project/Idea Name *
This can change later! Just get something down for now :)
Your answer
Summary *
One sentence summary of your project or idea. If you don't have a project or idea yet, tell us what issue you generally want to work on!
Your answer
What problem or opportunity are you trying to address? *
Your answer
What's your idea to address it? *
If you don't have an idea, you can say that you're hoping to develop one or find a project to join through optiMize! We can help with both of these things :)
Your answer
Your goals *
What are your overall goals? What do you hope the impact of your work will be?
Your answer
Your history *
Who are you? What are you passionate about? How/when did your team form (if applicable)? Have you done anything as a team so far, or is this your first step? (Either answer is fine, it just helps us to know your history!)
Your answer
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