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International challenge to award $300,000 to Catholic innovators today

By Katie Ascough - 29 August, 2020

OSV Challenge Demo Day Schedule

The international OSV Innovation Challenge has ignited a fire of innovation and entrepreneurship in the Church. The competition with three $100,000 prizes culminates today 29 August with an online “Demo Day”.

The challenge is held at the University of Notre Dame in Ohio, and is a year-long process that began last August when more than 350 Catholic entrepreneurs submitted applications for their idea to be considered for the Challenge, established in partnership with Catholic Creatives, Notre Dame IDEA Center and SENT. 

Now down to 12 finalists, three will be selected by a panel of experts, investors and fellow entrepreneurs to receive funding to support and grow some of the brightest ideas in the Church. “For more than 100 years, OSV Institute has been funding great organisations and initiatives in the Church,” said Jason Shanks, President of OSV Institute. “But times have changed, and so have the needs within the Church.” 

The OSV Innovation Challenge is an incubator experience for participants who aim to think beyond the status quo and to view the Catholic Church through the lenses of innovation and creativity. “We are not aiming to fund the next good idea, but to invest in people – emerging innovators and seasoned trailblazers – by forming a new generation of entrepreneurs who are not afraid to relook at how we encounter and evangelise through the truth and beauty of the Catholic Church,” said Mr Shanks. “The Church has always been at the forefront of great ideas – hospital systems, schools and universities, missions, shrines and some of the greatest art known to man. This Challenge is a search for Catholic innovators with world-changing ideas.”

The idea for the Challenge was co-authored by OSV Institute and Catholic Creatives, a movement of Catholic designers, filmmakers, photographers, creative thinkers, artists, entrepreneurs and others working to bring the gospel to the world in fresh ways. “Finalists have received ongoing professional coaching, business acumen, opportunities for spiritual growth and peer-to-peer mentoring meant to form well-rounded individuals and organisations able to grow and thrive for years to come,” stated John Henry, Director of Startup Programs at the Notre Dame IDEA Center. 

“I think as Catholics we often hold a false dichotomy between faith and business,” commented finalist Dave Kang, writer, producer and director with Ecce! Films. “By taking in the stories and wisdom of our guest speakers and the lives of the saints, I learned that faith and entrepreneurship do go hand in hand. There is a great both/and.”

To register for the live Demo Day which will take place on Zoom today, click here.

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