Select Page


The Seed for Change Fund will develop a vibrant ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship in India through an annual competition run by the Harvard University South Asia Institute (SAI), in which grant prizes will be awarded to interdisciplinary student projects that positively impact societal, economic, and environmental issues in India.

The South Asia Institute engages faculty and students through collaborative programs to advance and deepen the teaching and research on global issues relevant to South Asia. The Seed for Change Fund serves as a resource across all disciplines and schools at Harvard to explore critical issues of India through the lens of entrepreneurship.

The awards will be given in March and must be used for the duration of one year, in which the team must do work either remotely or directly in India. The grant prize will contribute to establishing partnerships with local organizations and conducting experiments to test the viability of ideas.



  • SFC is open to teams that include at least one current or graduating Harvard student, and includes undergraduates, graduates, postdoctoral fellows or clinical fellows, who will spend a period of time in India to test their proposed idea.
  • Teams must have a faculty mentor (from any of the professional schools at Harvard and Harvard College), who will provide feedback, input and mentorship over the course of the project.
  • While a local partner in India may not always be available at the seed stage, such a partnership is highly encouraged. SAI will help connect teams with local partners as needed.
  • The proposed enterprise can be a nonprofit, advocacy, or a for profit venture.
  • Everyone listed as a team member must have a pivotal role.



The deadline for Summer 2016 Competition is February 17, 2016.

Please have a designated Harvard affiliated team member submit the group application materials to by 11:59 pm EST of the deadline date. For questions about the application process, please email Diana Nguyen,

Applications will be reviewed by an interdisciplinary panel of faculty and senior administrators.



Cover Spreadsheet
Complete a cover spreadsheet and include it with your application. The spreadsheet also includes tabs for a budget and project timeline.

Current Resume/CV
Please include a resume for every team member

Endorsement from Faculty
A Harvard faculty member must submit an endorsement letter to The endorsement letter confirms that the team has communicated with a Harvard faculty member and received feedback.

Your budget will provide an explanation of the expenses the Seed for Change fund will cover. The spreadsheet includes a tab to fill out your budget.

We understand that each budget will be highly distinct. Please feel free to include or remove any line items or categories the team needs.  It is important when creating your budget to keep in mind the word “Jugaad”. Is the expense item frugal, flexible, and inclusive? For example, before listing a camera as an expense, please ask if any member of the team has a camera that the team may borrow? At the end of the list, please also provide a brief explanation of what the fund will go toward.

The narrative portion of the application should be answered on a word document.  The narrative must answer the following questions, have the following sections, and include sources.

Applicants will be expected to provide a clear outline of:

Cover Page

Name of Project


  • Team Member
  • Faculty Advisor
  • Partnerships
  • Potential Partnerships

Summer Funding Request


About the Team

  • You can include a brief paragraph for each team member

Background and Literature Review

Statement of the Problem

Justification for Solution: Hypotheses and Relevant Data

  • What are the underlying causes of the problem being tackled?
  • What are the reasons for your hypothesis?
  • Justify the efficacy of the proposed solution

Business Model Solution

  • How will your business model efficiently scale up?
  • What are your goals and objectives?


  • What is the economic viability of the project?
  • How sustainable is the project?


  • What do you intend to be the outcome of the project?
  • How will you quantifiably measure your impact?
  • Submit a final report to SAI in 2017



The following courses are examples of project-based classes at Harvard that encourage entrepreneurship (please note, this is not a complete list):

CS50: Introduction to Computer Science, David. J. Malan

US World 36: Innovation and Entrepreneurship: American Experience in Comparative Perspective, Mihir A. Desai

Engineering Sciences 139: Innovation in Science and Engineering: Conference Course, David A. Weitz

ES 239: Advanced Innovation in Science and Engineering, David A. Weitz

SCI-PHYUNV 27: Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science, David A. Weitz

Electrical Engineering 50, Marko Loncar

SOC-WORLD 26 Africa and Africans: The Making of a Continent in the Modern World, Caroline M. Elkins

ENG-SCI 20: How to Create Things and Have Them Matter, David A. Edwards

Cultural Agents, Doris Sommer

Contemporary Developing Countries: Entrepreneurial Solutions to Intractable Social and Economic Problems, Tarun Khanna

A132 Educational Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship in Comparative Perspective, Fernando Reimers