Manolo Sanchez Prize
The Manolo Sanchez Prize will award $25,000 to a Yale student-led for-profit or nonprofit social start-up, community-led initiative, or narrative change campaign increasing access to/utilization of financial infrastructure, sustainable financial resilience, wealth creation, and/or capital for financially underserved communities (unbanked, underinsured, and underfunded). Preference will be given to projects developing global solutions through fintech, policy research/advocacy, public-private partnerships, storytelling, impact investing, financial education, and financial infrastructure (credit, insurance, payments and remittances, savings, and personal finances).
This prize is possible due to the support of Manolo Sanchez (YC ’87); for more information about the vision for this prize, please read this article. This prize seeks to:
- Inspire global solutions promoting financial inclusion, democratizing financial access, and increasing financial infrastructure utilization.
- Stimulate innovative projects empowering financially underserved communities to improve their financial health and well-being.
- Generate interdisciplinary, cross-sector solutions developed by innovators from diverse disciplines and backgrounds.
- Educate innovators about how to transform an innovative idea into a successful reality.
In addition to the potential prize money, Startup Yale provides participants with constructive feedback from experienced professionals, mentorship from relevant experts, and chances to network with venture capital investors, nonprofit funders, and industry leaders.
Application Selection & Judging Criteria
The Manolo Sanchez Prize is open to any team with at least one current, degree-seeking Yale student in a leadership position. Reviewers and judges will evaluate applications based on the following criteria:
- Opportunity: The problem the venture/initiative/campaign seeks to address is clearly defined, and there is evidence that there is a significant target population who considers it important. The venture/initiative/campaign has engaged cross-sector stakeholders and financially underserved individuals and communities in the development of the solution.
- Viability: The team has developed a clear solution to the problem, has a realistic path for getting the solution to the impacted communities and individuals, and can continue to deliver the solution in a way that is financially and operationally sustainable. The team has a plan to address not only inclusion and access to the solution but also utilization rates of the solution.
- Innovation: The idea is truly innovative. It presents a new model, product, or service that fills a unique gap and/or applies an existing model to a new context. The team has engaged cross-sector stakeholders within the geographic/cultural context in the design of the solution to avoid replicating systemic inequities.
- Team: The team has the knowledge, skills, passion, energy, and ability to execute. The team has a plan to address missing skill sets or perspectives in order to achieve future milestones.
- Catalytic-ness: The prize will be meaningful in driving the team/project forward in ways that may otherwise not have been possible as quickly or at all.
- Impact: The innovation increases access to/utilization of financial infrastructure, sustainable financial resilience, wealth creation, and/or access to capital for financially underserved communities (unbanked, underinsured, and underfunded). The team recognizes the impact of the solution on social determinants of health and macroeconomic stability and has plans to mitigate unintended negative impacts.