The Power of Us: Re-Imagine Media

Competition Information

Competition News

We Media and Changemakers are proud to announce the two winners. Each will receive US $25,000 to launch their ideas!

Learn more about the winners. You may continue to read, comment on, and rate these innovative approaches for inspiring a better world through media and technology.

Welcome to the $50,000 We Media - Changemakers Challenge

What happens when everyone has the power to tell the story?

Join We Media and Ashoka’s Changemakers in the search to find the best new ideas for inspiring a better world through media and technology. We are looking for business and non-profit venture ideas and will award $50,000 in seed funding to the innovators who can bring the best ideas to life.

We invite entries from all fields. We will have two categories, one for business ventures and one for non-profit ventures, and will award up to $50,000 in seed funding. Thanks to a generous grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, we will provide $25,000 in seed capital to help launch the best new non-profit idea. Similarly, for the best new commercial idea, we will award $25,000 in seed capital.

The deadline for ideas is January 21, 2009. Enter your idea at Entrants will find resources, including collaborative partners and potential investors, while the global online community will discuss, debate and improve upon the most creative solutions.

All entrants are invited to join We Media and Changemakers at the fifth annual We Media Conference in Miami, February 24-26, 2009. Entrants will have the opportunity to present their ideas to potential funders and partners as part of an innovation showcase.

Eligibility and Criteria

Eligibility Criteria

The competition will be open to individuals from all countries. We consider the following criteria:

  • Media and Technology Focus: Ideas should reflect the theme of the competition. We are searching for innovative ideas that use media and technology to effect social change.
  • Idea Stage: We’re looking for early-stage ventures or brand new ideas that have not yet been launched or built. These may be entirely new ventures, new companies or new projects from existing organizations.
  • Business or Non-Profit: There will be two categories: business and non-profit. In the business category, the funding must be used to support the start-up of a new business that will have a sustainable revenue model. In the non-profit category, the funding should be used to support the launch of a non-profit venture or the development of a new project for an exisiting non-profit organization.
  • Completed Form: Entries must be fully completed and submitted before the deadline of January 21, 2009.
  • Language: Entries should be submitted in English.

Assessment Criteria

There will be several stages to this process:

  • December 3 to January 21 - Community rates ideas: The community will be asked to evaluate ideas based on a 5-star rating system. These ratings, as well as community comments for nonprofit entries, will be provided to We Media to help determine the Finalists.
  • January 21 to February 24 - We Media selects Finalists: Based on these criteria, We Media will select 16 Finalists.
  • February 24 to February 26 - The 16 Finalists will present to Judging Panel at We Media Conference: Finalists will be brought to the We Media Miami conference to present their ideas to a panel of expert judges. There will be separate panels for business and non-profit ideas.
  • Winners each receive $25,000 in seed funding: The judges will decide on the best business and non-profit ideas. The best idea in each category will receive $25,000 in funding.

In rating ideas, we ask the community to consider the following criteria:

  • Innovation: Is the idea innovative? This is the knock-out test. The idea should represent a disruptive innovation that changes the way media works. The innovation should demonstrate a substantial difference from other initiatives in the field and have the potential for large-scale expansion. We look for innovative business practices, entrepreneurial quality and a plausible sustainable model.
  • Story Telling: Does this idea tell a story in a new or innovative way – or enable others to tell their stories? Does it create and apply a unique storytelling experience through journalism, discovery, narrative, exposition, or new methods and metaphors? We are looking for ideas that change the way we experience or understand storytelling. In this context, we define storytelling broadly.
  • Social Impact: Does the idea impact the social condition, stimulate citizenship, raise awareness, influence public policy, or marshall support for an idea of broad social significance? Does this idea present a solution for increasing access, knowledge or connection for all? The idea may address a specific underserved community or the society at large but, ultimately, it is important that the innovation has a potential for application or replication globally. It will also be important that the idea does not have a negative environmental impact.
  • Sustainability: Will the innovator be able to launch and sustain this idea? For an innovation to be truly effective, it should have a plan for securing financial backing and community support. We are looking for social entrepreneurs with ideas that are financially sustainable and scalable. We will also consider the experience and capacity of the innovator (or team), who will be expected to launch the idea.
  • Design: Does the idea creatively engage multiple levels of intelligence and understanding of complex info with clarity, style, and meaning?
  • Pattern Change: Does the idea pioneer original approaches and paradigms?
  • Purpose: Does the idea express a purposeful vision through values reflecting ethics, credibility, responsibility and authenticity?
  • Community: Does the idea seek to organize a community, virtual or geographic, in a new way?

Confidentiality Waiver/Agreement

Submissions are NOT confidential. Information submitted in your application will be reviewed by We Media staff, may be shared with judges and may be published and distributed.

Disclaimer — Compliance with Legal Restrictions

Ashoka complies fully with all U.S. laws and regulations, including Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations, export control, and anti-money laundering laws. All grants will be awarded subject to compliance with such laws. Ashoka will not make any grant if it finds that to do so would be unlawful. This may prohibit awards in certain countries and/or to certain individuals or entities. All recipients will comply with these laws to the extent they are applicable to such recipients. No recipient will take any action that would cause Ashoka to violate any laws. Additionally, Ashoka will not make any grant to a company involved in the promotion of tobacco use.

Judges Panel

Diana Wells

President , Ashoka

Greg McCale

Founder and CEO, good2gether

Jay Aldous

Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, UNICEF

John McKinley

Founder, Launchbox Digital

Limor Schafman

President, Keystone Tech

Priya Haji

CEO and President, World of Good

Rusty Lewis

Director, College Media Network at mtvU, College Media Network

Wendy Wendlandt

President, Green Century