Acumen, in partnership with Unilever, is hosting a Social Innovation Challenge on Plastics from March to May 2019. The Challenge seeks to generate new ideas to stop the flow of plastic waste into the environment, with a focus on solutions that improve the lives of people living in poverty.


The Social Enterprise Incubator is an opportunity for early-stage entrepreneurs and SMEs to deepen their understanding of the areas for innovation and partnership around plastic waste reduction, refine their business models, and compete for seed funding and expert support for their solutions.

In the seven-week Social Enterprise Incubator, you will work through Acumen’s Business Models for Social Impact curriculum independently, and participate in online office hour sessions with experts from Unilever.

At least three winning teams will receive up to $25,000 in seed funding and a series of coaching calls with technical experts from Unilever. To be eligible for the prize, your business model should be applicable to markets in Brazil, India, or South Africa.


Early stage or aspiring social entrepreneurs who want to develop new business models for managing plastic waste, particularly in Brazil, India, and South Africa. See complete terms and conditions for eligibility requirements.


March 19–May 7, 2019

The incubator can be completed at your own pace during this time period. The only requirement is that you submit your final pitch deck before May 7, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. PST.


Learn about the challenge of plastic waste and opportunities for innovative solutions

Review case studies of social enterprises that are collecting, sorting, or processing plastic waste, while improving the welfare of people living in poverty

Complete Acumen’s Business Models for Social Impact curriculum to refine your own business model for plastic waste

Attend online office hour sessions to gain insights and feedback from technical experts at Unilever

Submit your Business Model Canvas and a pitch deck for a chance to win seed funding and coaching calls from Unilever

Apply to Social Enterprise Incubator here. Deadline: May 7, 2019