Four winners emerged at the final judging round of the National Social Venture Competition, held at Columbia Business School on Saturday, April 12. Winners and finalists shared prizes totaling $80,000.
The competition, a partnership of the University of California at Berkeley - Haas School of Business, Columbia Business School, and the Goldman Sachs Foundation, is the only business school competition fostering the creation of businesses and nonprofit organizations that are profitable or financially sustainable and can demonstrate a quantifiable social return on investment.
The winners and the business schools they represent are:
$25,000 Grand Prize for Best Blended Value Business Category - for plans demonstrating the highest integrated financial and social returns:
- Tarsian & Blinkley (University of California at Berkeley - Haas School): The venture designs and manufactures upmarket women’s apparel and accessories for sale in Western markets while creating suitable employments opportunities for Afghan women in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
$25,000 Grand Prize for the High-Growth Category- awarded to the venture that demonstrates financial profitability within five years and integrates a quantifiable social return:
- Ferrate Solutions (Babson College): The company will manufacture and distribute an environmentally safe water treatment chemical that is cheaper and 2-4 times more efficient than current water treatments.
$25,000 Grand Prize for the Medium-Growth Category - awarded to plans demonstrating a significant social impact with a longer path to profitability than high-growth plans:
- The Maine Highlands Guild (University of Maine): The mission of the Maine Highlands Guild is to consolidate local artists, craftspeople and producers of traditional products together in a networking organization that promotes and sells member products. The Guild seeks to create opportunities for members to increase their visibility and revenue, reduce costs of operation and improve product and business skills.
- $5,000 Prize for Outstanding Social Return on Investment (SROI) Analysis:
Developing Power (University of Michigan): Developing Power focuses on the implementation of hybrid renewable energy mini-grid systems and microenterprise capacity building in rural villages of developing countries.
Ten finalist teams competed in Saturday’s final round of judging. Each finalist team received a travel stipend to attend the final competition in New York City. The teams were judged by representatives from foundations, investors and venture capitalists, and academics at the forefront of this quickly growing field of social entrepreneurship. Columbia Business School Professor R. Glenn Hubbard, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, provided the keynote address at the awards ceremony.
The 2003 competition attracted 95 business plan submissions — a 23 percent increase from last year — representing 40 business schools from the United States, England, France and Spain. The plans covered a broad spectrum of education, technology, health, community development, and environmental industries.
The competition began four years ago as a student-organized social venture competition at the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. It expanded its national scope in 2001 with new partners Columbia Business School and The Goldman Sachs Foundation, which is headquartered in New York and has provided $1.5 million in funding for the competition.
Together, the three institutions are committed to building upon their respective networks of global business leaders, academics, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs to achieve their vision: the expansion of social entrepreneurship globally. In October 2003, a symposium will be held at Columbia Business School to advance the discussion of the trends, challenges, and successes in the field of social venture entrepreneurship.
NOTE: For more information, visit the Web site at http://www.socialvc.net or contact:
Columbia Business School
Phone: (212) 854-2747
The Haas School of Business and the Lester Center
for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
The Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, is one of the leading producers of new ideas and knowledge in all areas of business and is also influenced by its proximity to Silicon Valley. In 1970, Haas became one of the first business schools to teach entrepreneurship. In 1991, it established the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation to foster academic programs, community outreach and campus-wide collaboration in new venture creation, entrepreneurship and venture capital. This emphasis on entrepreneurship, coupled with the Haas School’s commitment —dating back to its founding in 1898 — to the social and environmental ramifications of business, creates the unique learning environment that gave birth to the National Social Venture Competition in 1999.
The Eugene M. Lang Center for Entrepreneurship
at Columbia Business School
The Eugene M. Lang Center at Columbia Business School serves as a living laboratory for student entrepreneurial ventures. The innovative approach to entrepreneurship education at Columbia Business School combines a systematic integration of entrepreneurial themes throughout the core curriculum, a strong elective course program, rigorous hands-on lab courses and a commitment to making entrepreneurship a viable career option for students. Mentors, largely successful alumni, provide vigorous, high-level advice and guidance throughout the business development process and the eventual start-up. The Lang Center also supports socially responsible ventures and has created a distinctive model for developing an entrepreneurial network that has been incorporated into the National Social Venture Competition.
The Goldman Sachs Foundation
The Goldman Sachs Foundation is a global philanthropic organization funded by the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. The foundation’s mission is to promote excellence and innovation in education and to improve the academic performance and lifelong productivity of young people worldwide. It achieves this mission through a combination of strategic partnerships, grants, loans, private sector investments and the deployment of professional talent from Goldman Sachs. Funded in 1999, the foundation has awarded grants in excess of $45 million since its inception, providing opportunities for young people in more than 20 countries.