Write a great proposal for social change

Jurek Sikorski, a mentor for our student Henley Challenge competition, shares his tips for creating a strong proposal for the competition and answering the theme question:

‘Social change…business gain
How can your sector or field contribute to creating a better society for all and still meet shareholder demands?’


A well written proposal will improve your chances of reaching the final of the Henley Challenge. So how do you write a great proposal on the theme of social change to convince the judges?

There are five basic steps:

1: Make a strong introduction and capture the attention of judges with a statement that fires the imagination.

For example if you are looking to bring focus on a social issue like homelessness then start with a statement like, ‘imagine if we were to solve homelessness in our cities, that would be a massive social change’.

2: Define the problem.

  • Describe the causes of the problem and what impact the problem has on society.
  • Address the question of why this problem needs to be solved.
  • Be sure to validate with data drawn from research.

For example you might say, ‘the number of homeless in England has risen for 5 years in a row with an estimated 250,000 people a year now affected in England’.

3: Put forward your solution to the problem.

  • This is arguably the most important part of the proposal.
  • Include how, where and why you would deliver the solution.


For example your solution might be ‘have companies donate a small percentage of their profits to local homelessness charities which are used to rent shelters or build homelessness communes, leveraging companies’ social conscience’.


4: Set out a timetable and financial budget, including sourcing the money.

  • In preparing your budget, think of it as a pitch for investment.
  • What you want to do is convince the judges that this is a good investment so be sure to provide solid and detailed financial information.

5: Draft a conclusion that summarises the benefits of adopting your proposal.

  • Specifically, mention how the benefits will outweigh the costs.

And don’t forget:

Make your proposal the best it can be by having someone else review and edit it to make it clear and concise and free of errors.

A number of academics, including myself, are offering mentoring support to entrants. See the Henley Challenge webpage for more details on who we are, how to contact us, and the drop-in support session on Monday 16 January.

Jurek Sikorski

Henley Challenge Mentor
Executive Director of Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship
Founder of Henley Business Angels

One Comment Add yours

  1. Dery Sylvia says:

    Thank you very for this tip . It was very useful to me


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