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April 21, 2006

MBA Student's Team Wins First Place at GSVC

A company cofounded by Jordan Tongalson ’06 won first place at the 2006 Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC), the first competition in the world to reward business plans that demonstrate both financial and social returns.


A company cofounded by Jordan Tongalson ’06 won first place at the 2006 Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC), the first competition in the world to reward business plans that demonstrate both financial and social returns.

“This is a huge win in terms of being able to launch our business idea,” says Tongalson ’06, CFO of the winning venture. His international team — which includes students at BITS Pilani, a top Indian engineering school — developed Mobile Medics, a private company that aims to provide affordable healthcare for villagers in rural India.

A global partnership between UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, Columbia Business School, London Business School and the Goldman Sachs Foundation, the GSVC awards $45,000 annually to management teams that seek to launch socially responsible businesses. This year 113 teams representing 40 schools participated.

The judges at the April 7 final event included nonprofit executives, academics, venture philanthropists and venture capitalists. Jim Fruchterman, CEO, president and founder of Benetech, and Jonathan Greenblatt and Peter Thum, cofounders of Ethos Water, gave the keynote addresses.

“Each year the business plans and the competitors become more sophisticated,” says Mollie Kinnamon, GSVC director at Columbia.

Tongalson and his team also earned first place at last year’s A. Lorne Weil Outrageous Business Plan Competition, a process that encouraged them to develop and revise their business proposal.

“We got great feedback at both competitions,” says Tongalson, who plans to use the $25,000 GSVC award to launch Mobile Medics this summer. “The most rewarding part for me is being able to help provide underserved rural areas in India with medical care, potentially solving a problem that has global implications.”