Skip to Main Content

The Rita Wilson Prize Fund in support of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The Rita Wilson Prize Fund in support of Innovation and Entrepreneurship is a $10,000 cash prize awarded to the best student-led venture focused on creating a technological solution to address a health disparity in the United States.
The Wilson Prize was created in 2019 with a generous gift to the Yale School of Public Health. The gift is managed by InnovateHealth Yale based at the Yale School of Public Health.
The Wilson Prize is awarded at Startup Yale. The Startup Yale competition provides participants with constructive feedback from experienced professionals, mentorship from relevant experts, and chances to meet venture capital investors and industry leaders.

Judges will evaluate applications based on the following criteria:

  • Opportunity: The problem the venture/organization/idea seeks to address is clearly defined, and there is evidence that there is a target population who considers it important.
  • Viability: The team has developed a clear solution to the problem, has a realistic path for getting the solution to the end user, and can continue to deliver the solution in a way that is financially and operationally sustainable. In short, the idea seems like it could work.
  • Innovation: The idea is truly innovative. It presents a new model, product or service that fills a unique gap and/or applies an existing model to a new context.
  • Team: The team has the knowledge, skills, passion, energy and ability to execute.
  • Catalytic-ness: The prize will be meaningful in driving the team/project forward in ways that may otherwise not have been possible as quickly or at all.
  • Impact: The venture contributes to the creation of a technological solution to address a health disparity in the United States.

Timeline

  • Applications for the Wilson prize will open in the spring of 2022. Please check back at that time!

Past Recipients

Learn more about the past recipients here.

To learn more please review the FAQ below and Schedule office hours with Fatema Basrai, Director of Innovation.

FAQs

Who can apply for this prize?
A current Yale student must be the team leader. Additional team members can be inside or outside of Yale.
What types of ventures are applicable for this prize?
Any student-led venture which addresses a health or education challenge that disproportionately impacts low-income communities in the United States or low-resource countries. The ventures can be for-profit or non-profit ventures.
What regions should ventures be serving?
Ventures should be focused on low-income communities in the United States or low-resource countries.
Can I apply for both the Thorne prize and the Wilson prize?

If your venture fits both categories, you may apply for both. Reviewers and judges for both prizes are different and if selected, you will only be chosen as a finalist for one prize.

Thorne Wilson
Funding Amount: $25,000 Funding Amount: $10,000
Focus: Social Innovation in Health or Education Focus: Technological solutions to address health disparities
Region: Domestic and/or International Region: Domestic Only

How can I best prepare my application and receive feedback?
Schedule office hours with Fatema Basrai, Director of Innovation.