315 Hudson St.
New York, NY 10013

The Social Innovation Hack, a non-coding event, brings passionate and creative professionals from the private and nonprofit sectors and aspiring entrepreneurs together to find new solutions to address global challenges. During the 2-day event, participants will learn from experts and form teams to create a social enterprise from scratch to pitch to a panel of judges. Subject matter experts will be on hand to teach and guide participants through the process so no prior experience is necessary. 

This year’s theme is global poverty. Why is this topic important? According to The World Bank, 1 in 10 people in the world live on less than $1.90 per day and a majority “live in rural areas and are poorly educated, mostly employed in the agricultural sector, and over half are under 18 years of age”. In the U.S. in 2015, 43.1 million people lived below the poverty line (e.g. $24, 447 for a family of 4).  

Sponsorship Opportunity

Join us as a partner to support budding social entrepreneurs in New York City! Contact siamoua@gmail.com for more information. 

5 Reasons to Attend the Social Innovation Hack
  1. Find business solutions to solve global poverty
  2. Learn from industry experts in design thinking, entrepreneurship and more
  3. Apply your existing skills to build your resume and develop new ones
  4. Build a social startup from scratch in one weekend
  5. Network with other like-minded professionals

Checkout last year’s event to get a sense of what you can expect. 


Registration is open! Click here to register. 

Early Bird (until 10/15, 11:59PM EST) – $80
General (until 11/10, 5:00PM EST) – $95
Presentation Only (Sunday Evening) – $15

Please Note: Ticket prices, provided above, do not include Eventbrite fees.

Your ticket includes:

– Opportunity to build a social enterprise from scratch with a team
– Social Entrepreneurship workshops
– Mentorship from industry experts
– Networking with like-minded peers
– Breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday & Sunday

Please Note: Presentation Only ticket only includes the presentation portion of the hack (starts at 5PM on Sunday) and Sunday dinner.

Refund Policy: No refunds within 7 days of the event. 



9:00AM – 9:30AM: Check-in/ Breakfast/ Networking

9:30AM – 10:00AM: Welcome

10:00AM – 10:30AM: Announce top ideas/ Form teams

10:45AM – 11:45AM: Session I – Validating your social enterprise idea

11:45AM – 3:00PM: Work

12:30PM – 1:00PM: Lunch/ Check-in

3:00PM – 4:00PM: Session II – Social enterprise business models

4:00PM – 6:00PM: Consult with mentors

6:00PM – 6:30PM: Dinner/ Work

6:45PM – 7:30PM: Session III – Pitching your social enterprise

9:30PM – 10:00PM: Wrap-up/ Clean up


9:00AM – 9:30AM: Breakfast/ Announcements

9:30AM – 4:30PM: Work

11:00AM – 1:00PM: Work/ Consult with mentors

1:00PM – 1:30PM: Lunch/ Work

1:45PM – 3:45PM: Presentation rehearsal

5:00PM – 7:30PM: Presentation and judging

7:30PM – 8:15PM: Dinner/ Judges deliberate

8:30PM – 9:00PM: Announcement of winners/ Wrap-up

Schedule is subject to change


Is this event a hackathon?

Not quite. Although the activities are similar, the Social Innovation Hack is not tech specific and does not require coding. All ideas to solve global poverty are welcome.

What is a social enterprise?
“A social enterprise is an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being—this may include maximizing social impact alongside profits for external shareholders.” – Wikipedia

What is a minimum viable product?
A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is: “[the] version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort” — Eric Ries.

Who should attend?
Anyone! This event is an excellent opportunity for individuals who have an interest in social entrepreneurship, are subject matter experts, have business or technical skills, are looking for co-founders, want to test an idea, etc.

Which business models are within the scope of this event?
Teams can develop social enterprises that are nonprofit, for-profit or hybrid (for-profit + nonprofit). To learn more about these models, click here.

Does the social enterprise have to be tech-focused?
No, tech is not a requirement. All ideas – product and/or service are welcome.

Is the hack focused on a specific global issue (i.e. education, poverty)?
Yes, the theme for this year’s hack is global poverty. Product and/or service solutions tackling global poverty can encompass economic, climate and environment, education, gender and health and nutrition among other issues.

Can I pitch an existing business or idea that I’ve been working on?
We highly discourage pitching ideas that you have previously worked on or are currently working on. The hack is designed for teams to develop new solutions together.

Will I be assigned to a team?
No, participants are responsible for forming their own teams. There will be time Saturday morning to find team members.

Can I bring a team?
No, you’ll have an opportunity to form a team on Saturday morning. However, we do encourage you to bring friends to the event!

How many people can be on a team?
Each team can have 3-5 members.

Who has ownership of the social enterprise?
Ownership is determined by your team. The Social Innovation Hack and Net Impact NYC do not play a role in this process.

How do I prevent other people from stealing my idea?
Unfortunately, you can’t. If you have an idea that you’re concerned others might steal, we recommend you not pitch it.

Do I have to be at the event all weekend?
Yes, it’s important for you to be present the entire weekend – to support your teammates and to get the full experience.

What resource is provided during the weekend?
Throughout the weekend, there will be workshops to walk you through the process of developing your social enterprise. There will also be subject matter experts (“Mentors”) who will provide guidance as you work on your social enterprise.

What does the winning team receive?
TBA – stay tuned. 

What should I bring to the event?
Laptop, power cord/charger, business cards, etc.

Please email ninyc.events@gmail.com if you have additional questions.


Alejandro Crawford

Alejandro Crawford opens up avenues to make solutions real. He builds platforms, partnerships and strategies that unleash innovative capacity for companies and communities – through the knowledge of our power, the space to try and fail, and the alliance to make experiments come alive. As CEO of RebelBase and head of strategy for Tangible Creative, he enables innovators and entrepreneurs to prove their concepts, garner resources, and scale impact and returns. As managing director of Acceleration Group, he enables executives, investors, governments, universities and NGOs to catalyze bottom-up innovation and and to harness “acceleration moments.” Alejandro serves as professor of entrepreneurship at the Bard MBA in Sustainability and designs courses for programs ranging from Baruch’s MBA to Fordham’s nonprofit leadership program. He writes, speaks, and develops frameworks for expanding access to entrepreneurship, to release our potential for sustainable growth. He earned his BA in history from Cornell University and his MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

Jean Paul Laurent

Founder, Unspoken Smiles Foundation

More speakers coming soon!


Karen Schlesinger

Product Director and leads Operations, FounderTherapy

Karen Schlesinger is a sustainable business expert who specializes in helping entrepreneurs work through strategic and company-building challenges. Karen is a Product Director and leads Operations at FounderTherapy, where she is part of a team of professional co-founders, advisors, product developers, engineers, business strategists, and expert problem solvers. She also leads the company’s Tech for Good initiative, focusing on helping startups build and launch products that are addressing social and environmental challenges.

Karen has specific sustainability expertise in waste and recycling, food systems, and greenhouse gas emissions management. Previously, Karen worked on emissions management and energy efficiency projects for a large waste and recycling company in the northeast. She also spent several years as a sustainability consultant to large corporate clients, including Walmart and Citrix, working on sustainability strategy and operations.

Prior to her work in sustainability and tech, she ran her own digital fine art reproduction business, launched a city-wide economic revitalization organization in Troy, NY, and has taught art, business, and sustainability courses at several universities. She has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School and an MFA in Imaging Arts & Sciences from RIT.

Edwin Broni-Mensah

Founder, GiveMeTap

Melissa Ferere


More coming soon!



Amber Stryker

Amber Baker Stryker is the Director, Global Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability at The Estee Lauder Companies (ELC), where she has held this role since 2015. Amber oversees the Girls’ Education Initiative at The Estée Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation, developing strategy and managing execution of the new global portfolio focused on emerging markets. She also works closely with ELC’s brands to establish cause marketing partnerships that build brand equity and create high impact change. Amber plays key roles in corporate strategy development and communications for the Global Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability team.

Before working on the ELC Corporate Citizenship team, Amber led grantmaking in the EMEA region for the M?A?C AIDS Fund, the charitable foundation at M?A?C Cosmetics (an ELC brand). In total, she has been at ELC for seven years, taking on increasing responsibility and new challenges throughout that time.

Amber has built grantmaking programs in HIV/AIDS, women’s health, education, and the environment, working globally with a particular focus on South Africa, Russia, India, and the UK. She currently serves on the Steering Committee for the International Education Funders Group. Prior to working in corporate philanthropy, Amber worked in international development, for Doctors Without Borders, the Synergos Institute, and the Bhavishya Alliance. Amber earned a Master of Public Administration from NYU Wagner and a Bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Oklahoma.

More coming soon!


Coming soon!