The Connection Challenge

Develop the information architecture of the future.

Applications are closed
11 January - 20 March 2016
21 March - 11 January 2017
20 Fellows
21 to 31
By the DO School Innovation Lab GmbH
Contact Us

The Challenge

Our Entrepreneurship for Good Program enables you to spend 10 weeks on campus in Berlin to develop your individual business plan and learn hands-on what it takes to be an entrepreneur by working on a real life group Challenge posed by Messe Berlin, one of the world’s leading trade exhibition companies. During the following 10 months, you start your own mission-driven venture back in your home country supported by our team of coaches and mentors.

The task of the Challenge is to capture, preserve and publish the expertise of the exhibitors and trade visitors present in new and exciting formats, e.g. by using new technologies or forms of storytelling.

The aim of the Challenge is:

  • to find a solution that extends the impact of a trade exhibition from a few days to the whole year
  • to gather knowledge that so far goes untapped and make it accessible to more people
  • to distil it so that it can be published in different formats later on and
  • to connect new people worldwide to the Messe Berlin community

The Challenger

Every year, Messe Berlin connects around 2 million individuals from around the globe with tremendous expertise and know-how in their fields. With an exhibition history reaching back to the 1820s and partners in 150 countries, it not only organizes leading international trade shows such as ITB Berlin/Asia, but also offers a rich international programme of events reaching from food to travel, logistics, healthcare IT to consumer electronics. Bringing together people from all over the world, the company enables and conducts an international exchange of information and business. There is great opportunity to use this knowledge in new exciting formats throughout the entire year.

We believe in the global exchange of knowledge and expertise. We challenge you to find new ways to do it.
Dr. Christian Göke, CEO Messe Berlin


You are between 21 and 31 years old. This means on the first day of the program you are least 21 years old and no older than 31. If you are not legally of age in your home country at the time of application, you will have to supply a permission signed by a parent or legal guardian for the application to be valid.

Successful candidates may come from, but are not restricted to the fields of storytelling technique such as writers, bloggers, videographers, journalists but also business analysts, educators, information architects, web and information designers.

It is central to our mission that we offer inclusive educational opportunities to talented young adults. We support you regardless of your socioeconomic or educational background and encourage you, no matter if you are a university student or graduate or don’t have a higher education.

Since the DO School program is conducted in English we require for you to apply in English and to have a good working knowledge of the language.

Application process

Complete the applications for the Entrepreneurship for Good Program through our online application form. Before you begin, you may want to read the application FAQs at the bottom of this page.

Step 1

Create a user account. You will receive an email with a link. Click on this link to activate your account. If you do not receive this email within a few minutes, please check your spam folder.

Step 2

Complete all three required parts of the online DO School application form. You will be asked to fill in personal information, answer application questions, and agree to the conditions of application. To save your work and return to it at another time, click the “save” button. In addition, you can optionally complete the form for financial aid.

Step 3

Submit your application. Once the status of all three parts is complete, you can click the “Submit Your Application” button. Please note that you cannot make any changes to your application after your submission. No late submissions will be accepted. Successful submission will be confirmed by a screen saying: “Your application has been submitted”.

After you apply

We will be in touch with you via email 6-8 weeks after the application deadline. If your application passes the first selection round, you will be invited for a Skype interview for the second round. All applicants will be notified, whether successful or not.

Tuition fee

Admission is based on merit alone with a tuition fee of EUR 1,000.

If you cannot cover the program cost you are eligible to receive financial aid. For more information please download the financial aid PDF.

The financial aid is offered by the Westerwelle Foundation
Getting ready for some good advice, the DO School crew in Echoing Green's NY office

Travel and living costs

You are responsible for organizing and paying for your own travel to and from the DO School Berlin campus in order to participate in the ten-week Incubation Phase. You are also responsible for arranging and paying for your visa (if needed) as well as travel, health and accident insurance for the ten-week duration.

During the 10-week Incubation Phase in Berlin, you will stay at subsidized accommodation and will be required to contribute EUR 900. During the entire program year you are responsible for your personal cost of living (food, insurance, transportation, personal needs, etc.). Download the PDF below and find out more about the living costs in Berlin

Seeds Award

The DO School Seeds Award is a chance for you to jump-start your venture. A total of EUR 5,000 are awarded to the three most convincing venture plans after Fellows have successfully finished the Incubation Phase. The Awardees are chosen by a jury comprising experts from the social entrepreneurship and start-up field as well as in an online voting competition.


Who can apply to participate in this Challenge?

The DO School is seeking highly motivated and talented emerging social entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs age 21 to 31. Applicants should be able to demonstrate a track record of being passionate about addressing social issues and creating and spreading innovative social change. We welcome applications from people with all educational and socioeconomic backgrounds. Successful applicants are determined and willing to use our program to start new, or grow existing ventures, or implement a new initiative within a larger organization. The DO School program is ideal for outstanding mission-driven people who are looking for the tools, skills, and mentoring to launch a social start-up.

What are DO School Fellow ventures?

An idea to start or grow a social venture, be it a non-profit, social business, artistic initiative, campaign or intrapreneurial initiative within an existing organization is a crucial part of the application. Ventures always address a key social issue in the Fellows’ communities, while at the same time reflecting their personal passions, motivation, and talents. We don’t require applicants to already have finished business plans for their ventures, but rather require them to want to implement an innovative idea for a venture. As Fellows are passionate about the topic of the Challenge they apply for, their venture idea will reflect this and is somehow connected to the content of the Challenge.

What is the time commitment during the Entrepreneurship for Good Program?

During the ten-week Incubation Phase all Fellows live and work together. This phase is an intensive learning and training experience with full-day program for usually 5 – 6 days a week. For the ten-month Implementation Phase, Fellows return to their home countries to start implementing their own ventures with continued online support from the Venture Lab, via the DO School online platform. Fellows can work part-time on their venture implementation, but are required to commit an absolute minimum of 15 hours per week to work on their start-up.

What are the courses offered during the Incubation Phase?

Over the ten weeks of the Incubation Phase, Fellows will work on a Challenge posed by our Challenger. This process is supported by our Challenge Lab, a course which offers skills, knowledge and tools necessary to successfully solve the Challenge. The Venture Lab is the second major focus of the Incubation Phase, in which Fellows will work on turning their own venture idea into a viable social start-up plan that is ready for implementation. Fellows will benefit from individual coaching sessions and workshops on entrepreneurship, communications, project management, and start-up financing to develop their idea into a concrete project plan. The third course, Media Lab, is to enable Fellows to communicate about their ventures in a professional manner. Media Lab sessions help them to develop a strong brand and communication strategy. 

For more details, please download this PDF: Course Description

How can one apply for the Entrepreneurship for Good Program?

Applications for the Entrepreneurship for Good Program are always for a specific Challenge and can only be completed during the stated application period of that Challenge. Applications are completed through an online application form.

Is there financial aid available for those who cannot cover the cost?

Yes, financial aid is available for both the tuition fee and the personal costs during the Incubation Phase of the Entrepreneurship for Good Program. Fellow selection is need-blind. This means we select Fellows regardless of their financial circumstances and make sure that everyone who is selected can also participate in the program. If you need financial aid there is a separate form in the application process that you can fill out. If you are accepted you will then automatically receive an individualized partial or full financial aid offer. The offer will be based on your personal needs, however, we expect all candidates to demonstrate entrepreneurial spirit and actively contribute to part of their own costs through their own fundraising activities.

Why is the tuition fee for the Entrepreneurship for Good Program so low?

The DO School’s mission is to make excellent education highly affordable. Through its unique fellowship model every Fellow accepted onto the Entrepreneurship for Good Program receives an automatic scholarship covering the vast majority of the program cost. This is made possible through the support of the Challenger who gives the hands-on innovation Challenge.

What does it cost to participate in the Entrepreneurship for Good Program?

The Entrepreneurship for Good Program is a highly subsidized program, which means you pay only a small portion of the actual costs as your tuition fee. For the Entrepreneurship for Good Program in Berlin the tuition fee is 1,000 EUR excluding travel and living expenses throughout the Incubation Phase in Berlin. This only applies to you if you can afford to pay the full tuition and your own costs, if not there is financial aid available.

After I submit my application how long will it take to hear if I have been selected or not?

We will be in touch with you via email 4 – 5 weeks after the application deadline of the Challenge you applied for.

Can I apply for two Challenges at the same time?

No. We select Fellows based on the specific interest expressed in the application to participate in a particular Challenge. It is important that you seriously consider selecting a Challenge that you are passionate about, as your start-up venture should also reflect the topic of the Challenge.

I have already applied for a previous program and was not accepted, can I still apply for a new program?

Yes, each application will be evaluated on its own merit. Having previously applied will not negatively influence the outcome of a new application. Quite the opposite, it may be a good idea to tell us how you and your venture have developed since your last application.

My English is not very good, can I apply in a different language?

No, since all programs rely on English as the common language, you have to apply in English. However, it is important to remember that the requirement is to speak and understand English well enough to be able to benefit from and contribute to the program, but you don’t need to be a native speaker – so don’t be too worried about making a few mistakes.

Who can I contact if I have questions regarding admissions?

Please contact us at