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Two teams including Columbia Business School students participated in the final round of the 2004 Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC), which took place April 15-16 in London. In keeping with the competition's new international focus, London Business School, which joined the GSVC partnership in June 2003, hosted the final round of judging.
Photo: Garry Vaynberg '05 (far right) of Columbia Business School and his IAM partners (l to r): Jason Franklin, Candace Taylor, Blaise Rastello and Heather Giles.
Garry Vaynberg '05 and his teammates won the $25,000 grand prize in the Blended Value category. Their company, IAM LCC, is a real estate venture focused on underserved urban neighborhoods. Differential Dynamics, a technology venture that aims to improve the efficiency of motion controls and power transmissions, was the other Columbia finalist.
"The diversity of ventures was striking this year," said Columbia student Shiv Dewan '05, one of the competition organizers. "Some plans focused on creating social impact on a local level, while others had the potential to create benefits on a national and international level."
This year's competition attracted 129 business plans from 55 business schools in 11 countries. More than a quarter of the plans in this year's competition came from teams based outside the United States, and a large number of the U.S.-based projects had an international component.
Eco-Friendly Environmental Products (Rotterdam School of Management), which plans to manufacture and sell organic fertilizer, won the $25,000 prize in the High-Growth category. Schools for Community Empowerment (Stanford), an urban-renewal venture that plans to establish a high school and community center, was the $25,000 winner in the Medium-Growth category. Distributed Generation Technologies (Cornell) won a $5,000 prize for outstanding social return on investment analysis.
Columbia Business School had a higher number of entrants than any other school, with 21 teams competing. Other schools with strong representation included London Business School (15), Haas School of Business (10), Stanford Business School (7) and Kenan-Flagler Business School (6). Columbia's growing pool of social enterprise students and strong international curriculum may account for the School's exceptional showing in this year's competition.
About the GSVC
The Global Social Venture Competition (formerly the National Social Venture Competition) brings together the academic and financial worlds to support the creation of social ventures. The program began in 1999 as a student-led initiative at Haas School of Business at UC-Berkeley. In 2001, Columbia Business School and The Goldman Sachs Foundation partnered with Haas to extend the competition's reach and develop a national platform for social ventures. When London Business School joined the program in 2003, the competition was renamed to reflect its new global orientation.