Stay tuned for information on the 2017-8 competition cycle!

About the Challenge

The Min Family Engineering Social Entrepreneurship Challenge offers USC undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity to use engineering and technology to develop sustainable and effective solutions to global problems, positively affecting the greater society. In particular, we seek solutions to challenges faced by underprivileged parts of our society or in underdeveloped countries worldwide.

Teams are invited to address major initiatives, such as the National Academy Grand ChallengesGates Foundation programs, and any other articulated challenges for which technology solutions offer broad societal impact, particularly for underserved communities.  We are delighted to partner with the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab based at the USC Marshall School of Business to create meaningful and sustainable solutions.

Through the Min Challenge, teams interview customers and stakeholders to learn about community needs and determine possible solutions. Teams will offer proposed solutions and based on those proposals, funds will be allocated to research implementation strategies over spring break.  Teams must have a USC Viterbi student or postdoc in a lead role but are ideally multi-disciplinary teams.

To apply you will be asked to provide:

  • Short business model summary.
  • Market opportunity.
  • Name, school, e-mail, graduation date, and one sentence bio for each team member. The maximum number of team members is 5.
  • All USC students are invited to participate, although each team must have at least one Viterbi student as member.

The deadline is Sunday, October 9, 2016, 11:59 pm PT.  Admitted teams will be advised by Tuesday October 25, 5 pm. Admitted teams will be paired with mentors in the fall and are required to attend educational sessions between December 2016 and March 2017.

See the file from our information session here.

Need teammates? Click here to join our roster of innovative students creating teams.

About the Min Family

The Mins have a longstanding legacy of philanthropy to USC and beyond. Here at USC Viterbi, Julie and Bryan have generously supported student fellowships. In 2000, the Mins established the ESSential Foundation, which funds, among other things, military support organizations, caregivers of wounded warriors, international micro-finance, religious, educational organizations as well as community programs that support troubled youth.

The Mins are passionate Trojans through and through. Bryan, a distinguished alumnus with a Bachelor’s in Industrial and Systems Engineering, is a member of the USC Viterbi Board of Councilors as well as our ISE Epstein Department Advisory Board.  His wife Julie graduated from UCLA earning a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Business. Julie worked on Capitol Hill on the Senate Ethics Committee before raising their two wonderful children and currently serves on Boards of various non-profits, including the Armed Services and the YMCA. Their son Brandon graduated from USC with a major in Industrial and Systems Engineering. Daughter Brittany will be attending USC in the fall of 2016.


  • Grand prize:  $25,000
  • Second place:  $10,000

The Min Family Challenge awards funds as reimbursements for qualified expenses linked to launching ventures offering engineering solutions for social impact.  Expenses must be incurred in the six months following the final presentations, in order to accelerate solutions for societal challenges.

The Min Family Challenge and the I-Corps Site program provide as much as $25,000 total for teams to learn about the implementation of their solutions.
Free legal services will be available for the grand prize team.

Key Dates

Call for Applications
Application Deadline
Acceptance Notifications
Min Family Challenge Kickoff, 5-7 pm
0dec – mar
Customer discovery workshops, details TBA
Final submission/ implementation proposal due
MFC finals, 2-6 pm
Viterbi Awards

Our Sponsors

For Innovators

Innovator Code of Conduct

For Mentors

Mentor Code of Conduct


Program Documents

How to Apply

Apply Here by Sunday, October 9, 11:59 pm PT

Click Here