The Igniting Innovation Summit on Social Entrepreneurship is the largest undergraduate-run conference on social innovation in the world. 

Our Mission

The Igniting Innovation Summit unites students, academics, and leaders in the field who are passionate about developing innovative solutions to today's most pressing problems. Over the past six years, the Summit has grown from a small-scale initiative of Harvard students to a nationally recognized forum for social change.

The 7th annual Summit will explore wide-ranging themes through keynote speeches, panels on how to tackle the world's most pressing issues, and an Innovation Showcase. In the past, attendees have enjoyed keynote addresses by Paul Rice, President & CEO of Fair Trade USA, and Rick Ridgeway, Vice President of Environmental Affairs at Patagonia. The annual Summit has been featured on Forbes.com, The Guardian UK and DoSomething.org, and has hosted guests such as David Gergen of CNN, Cheryl Dorsey of Echoing Green, and John Paul DeJoria of John Mitchell Systems and The Patron Spirits Company.

In addition, the Summit attracts talented young entrepreneurs from around the world through a unique program: the Village to Raise a Child Competition (VTRAC). VTRAC is a program established by the Summit's umbrella organization, the Harvard Social Innovation Collaborative, that identifies and nurtures five high school entrepreneurs from around the world. These five students -- called "Global Trailblazers" -- are invited to Harvard for a week-long program during which they develop the tools, skills, and resources they need to execute their community-based projects. The week-long program culminates in the Summit, where each VTRAC recipient presents their social innovation project ideas and receives valuable feedback from the conference's attendees. 


It was exciting to give a keynote speech at the third annual Igniting Innovation Summit. Having met the initial leaders of the event two years prior at the Ashoka U Summit, I was delighted to see the event flourish at Harvard, drawing a large and diverse audience of passionate young people from across Boston and the greater Northeast. I am encouraged by the the growing cohort of college students and young professionals looking to develop careers as social entrepreneurs and take on major social issues through innovative approaches that leverage the public, private and non-profit sectors.
— Paul Rice; CEO and President, Fair Trade USA