U.S. - China
Social Hackathon

What's a "social" hackathon?

The U.S. - China Social Hackathon is an online, collaborative program where teams of U.S. and Chinese students work together to develop a social enterprise business plan. Led by a mentor, groups meet online to design a solution to a problem related to one of the program topics, then pitch their business idea to a panel of judges.

Participants learn about social innovation, how to develop a value proposition, how to collect feedback, how to design a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), and how to pitch a business idea. They'll gain valuable experience working in remote teams, an essential skill for the 21st century workforce.


Each group is led by a mentor through lectures, discussions, case studies, and activities to explore what is social innovation. They'll put what they learn into practice by defining a problem, testing their assumptions, and iterating in response to feedback.


Use the top startup tools to design a digital solution that addresses a social problem your group has observed in both your communities. Work with Silicon Valley concepts including:

  • Lean Startup Methodology
  • Rapid Iteration
  • IDEO Design Thinking & UX Design
  • Business Model Generation's Value Proposition Canvas and Business Model Canvas


Pitch your idea to a panel of social entrepreneurs. Prove to them you've identified the next big opportunity and are offering the right solution for the market. Convince the judges and your group can participate in an in-person hackathon at Georgetown University during the summer of 2019!

Student Feedback

"Over the course of the program, I’ve gotten to know my American teammates a lot more, and it’s been a pleasure working with them. Even though there were some challenges, we were able to push out a final product that we could all be proud of. This was definitely an interesting and unique experience that I am honored to have had."
Kevin L. (Tsinghua Int'l School, Beijing)

"It was an unforgettable teamwork experience."
Aaron W. (Shanghai Pinghe Bilingual School)

"Very creative and academic; I loved it."
Evan S. (Jiangsu Tianyi High School)

"In the program I learned how to work and cooperate with people from different countries and backgrounds and come up with a business plan that could solve a common problem in our communities. At first it was difficult but once we kept working at it the plan came together."
Cameron B. (D.C. Public High School)



  • Two sessions of two weeks each
  • Five scheduled, mentor-led working meetings
  • Live pitch presentation


  • One session over six weeks
  • Minimum of five, student-led working meetings
  • Live pitch presentation


Waste Management

Consumption is a major driver of the world economy, but also of the world's waste. What should we do with all of the discarded plastic, paper, metal, and other materials we produce? The answer to this question has a huge impact on a number of issues affecting all of humanity: land, sea, and air pollution; climate change; and urban planning, to name a few.

The Role of Technology

We used to think of the "technology divide" as separating those with money from those without: children from wealthy families would have more access to technology, making them more technology literate (and giving them better job prospects), than those from poorer families. However, now we are seeing that children from poorer families actually spend more time in front of phone and computer screens, affecting their education and wider development. What can be done to narrow this divide?

Human Migration

Countries like India and China are urbanizing at some of the highest rates seen in human history, while countries like the U.S. are seeing urban decline, or the erosion of culturally distinct areas due to gentrification. These are just some of the modern issues that arise from the phenomenon of human migration. How can we ensure that everyone is able to live a fulfilling life no matter where in the world they go?

Digital Banking

From QR-code payments to blockchain to mobile-only banks, the digitization of the banking industry is changing the way people interact with their money, often even eliminating the need for a physical asset. What opportunities are there within this trend to increase access to the banking system for poor and rural populations?


Around the world, access to education is often determined by how much money a family earns. In the U.S., schools receive revenue based on taxes assessed on the value of property within their district, meaning that schools in wealthy areas have greater access to funding for teachers and classroom materials than those in poorer areas. In less-developed countries, children in poorer areas sometimes must forego an education in order to provide for their families. What can be done to make access to quality education more equitable and more readily available?

Population Aging

The increasing average age of a population means that not only are there more elderly people in need of care, but also that there are less younger people as a percentage of the population participating in growing the economy by working or starting a business. This can lead to strained state resources, lower quality of life for the elderly, and increased pressure on young people to provide for both their parents and their own children. How can we ensure that we are able to support aging populations while maintaining growth in the overall economy?

* These topics are provided for reference only and may be different for the current program.


Mentors are exceptional undergraduates, graduate students, or recent graduates who have researched startup methodology, or have experience running student companies or working at entrepreneurial student organizations.

Some of our current and past mentors include:

Marie Pocha

View Marie's LinkedIn profile here.

Carl Hooks

View Carl's LinkedIn profile here.

Tidus Coleman

View Tidus's LinkedIn profile here.


Take a look at some of the projects created by past students.


Inspiring is an online platform offering classes on financial literacy and information technology skills. For additional fees, students can join seminars and work with a course advisor.

View Inspiring's landing page


iOpinion allows college students to earn money from sharing their data with companies that want to improve their AI systems.


Livingreen is a mobile application that rewards sustainable purchasing, partnering with brands and food-delivery platforms to incentivize environmentally friendly choices.


Unicourse teaches students practical skills that can help them find jobs.


UChoice is a beginner finance and financial education mobile application.

Cross-Cultural Connect

Cross-Cultural Connect is a mobile application that aims to build a social community of migrants through localized content and collaborations with schools and other officials.


Cultiv8rs develops community farms and sells urban farming kits to empower individuals to become more self-sustainable by cultivating their own produce, especially in food deserts and areas with high population density.

View Cultiv8rs's landing page



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Apply for Fall 2018

Application Process

  1. Submit the online application form through the link below*
  2. You'll be contacted shortly afterward to schedule an online interview
  3. Notify us of your preferred topic areas through email



Applicants in China

  1. Apply Online
  2. Apply on WeChat

Applicants in the US

Visit divvii.com

* You must have an account on the DIVVII Community Center in order to submit your application. If you don't have an account already, you can create one for free here.