DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire is hoping to inspire social entrepreneurs of all ages by expanding a competition originally aimed at college students.

As part of the university’s Social Business Innovation Challenge, participants must come up with innovative solutions to social problems such as poverty or climate change and show how they could sustain their business through earned revenues and profits rather than grants or donations. The idea is to encourage companies to tackle social issues by combining business know-how with the desire to improve quality of life.

Winners in the community competition division will get $3,000, plus 100 hours of consulting work from a New Hampshire-based web strategy, design and development firm and six months of participation in the New Hampshire Innovation Commercialization Center’s business accelerator program.

UNH President Mark Huddleston said he was pleased to widen the competition to include more participants.

“Community members have first-hand knowledge of the social and environmental problems facing our region as well as the skills and enthusiasm needed to design innovative solutions to these problems,” he said.