Haas Newsroom

National Social Venture Competition draws record number of business plans

Contact: Ute Frey, Haas School of Business
(510) 642-0342

Berkeley/New York, February 21, 2002
-- The National Social Venture Competition, a partnership of the Haas School of Business at University of California, Berkeley, Columbia Business School, and The Goldman Sachs Foundation, has attracted 77 business plan submissions for its spring 2002 competition  a 140 percent increase from last year  from 31 business schools.

The National Social Venture Competition is the only business school competition to foster the creation of for-profit and nonprofit ventures that incorporate both financial sustainability or profitability and quantifiable social or environmental returns into their business missions. The competition began in 1999 as a student-organized nationwide social venture competition at the Haas School of Business. It was expanded nationally in 2001 with the new partners, Columbia Business School and The Goldman Sachs Foundation, in order to build a national platform for social entrepreneurship.

More than one-third of this year's plans represent entrepreneurial solutions to environmental concerns, followed by plans targeting health, community development, education, energy, and pro-social use of technology.

Some examples of this year’s ideas include:

"Each year the competition draws incredibly innovative plans from a very diverse set of industries and sectors," said Cathy Clark, Columbia faculty advisor to the competition. "We’re excited about this year’s expanded range."

Competition entrants must include at least one current MBA student on their teams. Participant teams in 2002 represent 31 business schools in the United States and worldwide, including the Australian School of Business, Columbia Business School, Harvard Graduate School of Business, Michigan Business School, MIT’s Sloan School, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School, Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, UCLA’s Anderson School, UC Berkeley’s Haas School, and University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

"This innovative program is an important milestone in the social enterprise field and presents a unique opportunity to advocate high quality entrepreneurship education on a national scale," said Stephanie Bell-Rose, president of The Goldman Sachs Foundation. "The program underscores the foundation's mission of supporting educational excellence by encouraging outstanding students to develop the tools that help them become the global leaders of tomorrow. We are gratified with the outstanding initial reception given to the program."

The 77 business plans submitted last month have been divided between Columbia Business School and the Haas School of Business for the initial rounds of the competition. The schools are hosting bi-coastal workshops where mentors assist competing teams in honing their skills and developing sound business plans. The first mentor workshops took place at Columbia Business School and the Haas School of Business on Saturday, Feb. 16.

Of the 77 plans, 67 were selected to compete in the semi-final round that takes place on both campuses March 8. More than 20 judges, including corporate leaders, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and venture philanthropists, will select eight teams to advance to the final round. These finalists will compete April 5-6 at the Haas School at UC Berkeley. The winners will share over $100,000 in seed capital and exposure to potential funders.

"The increase in participating teams shows that resourceful entrepreneurs around the world are reevaluating the purpose of business and are blending non-profit and for-profit models to serve the common good," said William Rosenzweig, Haas School faculty advisor to the competition.

Previous competition winners who have leveraged winnings to grow their social ventures include:


NOTE: For more information, please visit http://www.socialvc.net or contact:

Ute Frey                        
Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley      
Tel: (510) 642-0342     
E-mail: frey@haas.berkeley.edu

Maria Graham
Columbia Business School
Tel: (212) 854-5955     
E-mail: Mag177@columbia.edu     

For an interview with Stephanie Bell-Rose, president of The Goldman Sachs Foundation, please contact at Karen Linehan Mroz at (212) 357-5296 or Karen.Mroz@gs.com.


The Haas School of Business

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, the Haas School became one of the first business schools to teach entrepreneurship. This emphasis on entrepreneurship, coupled with the Haas School’s commitment to the social and environmental ramifications of business, which dates back to its founding in 1898, creates a 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 unique 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 will be carried into the National Social Venture Competition.

The Goldman Sachs Foundation
The mission of The Goldman Sachs Foundation is to promote excellence and innovation in education worldwide, and to improve the academic performance and lifelong productivity of young people. Toward this end, the Foundation makes substantial investments in outstanding education initiatives that prepare today's young people to become tomorrow's scholars, leaders and entrepreneurs.