Haas Newsroom

Global Social Venture Competition selects international winners to launch businesses beyond pure profit

Judges impressed by Social Ventures focusing on educational, environmental, and urban regeneration issues

Haas School of Business
University of California, Berkeley
Ute S. Frey

Thursday, April 22, 2004: Four winning social ventures from the US and Europe took the top awards at the Global Social Venture Competition held at London Business School on April 16, 2004. The winners shared $100,000 in cash and travel prizes that will help launch businesses committed to creating significant positive social impact.

In its fifth year, the competition has grown to be a truly global partnership between the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business, Columbia Business School, and now London Business School. The Goldman Sachs Foundation has supported the competition for the past three years.

The competition selected one top team in each of four categories: ventures that expect medium growth opportunities ($25,000 prize), those expecting high-growth opportunities ($25,000 prize), the venture that best blends the values of profit and social returns ($25,000 prize), and the venture with the best Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis ($5,000 prize).

The 2004 winners and the business schools they represent are:

MEDIUM GROWTH: Schools for Community Empowerment (SCE) -- Stanford University and UC Berkeley
This team of educators has developed a model of urban renewal and empowerment that could revitalize neighborhoods, communities, and cities across the country by linking youth education with community development. Initially, this combined high school and multi-use community center will address the educational, cultural, social, and recreational needs of the youth and families living in East Oakland, California, a de-industrialized neighborhood that has suffered many years of urban neglect.

HIGH GROWTH: Eco-Friendly Agricultural Products (EFAP) -- Rotterdam School of Management
This venture will manufacture and sell organic fertilizers with high water retention properties primarily to farmers in arid regions. With a mission to provide environmentally friendly fertilizers (organic and bio-degradable) to the farming community, while reducing the amount of water needed for irrigation, EFAP also aims to provide a safer environment for workers and the surrounding community. The team believes its products will improve soil quality while preventing the build up of biological resistance to chemicals in crops.

BEST BLENDED VALUE: IAM, LLC -Columbia Business School and the New School University
The company purpose is to improve the economic and environmental quality of underserved urban neighborhoods through innovative real estate development focused on urban brownfields.

SOCIAL RETURN ON INVESTMENT: Distributed Generation Technologies -- Cornell University
This team will promote renewable energy production and local energy efficiency through multi-fuel technologies. The team's SROI analysis will be available on the GSVC web site within a week.

"With their innovative and well-developed business plans, these teams have demonstrated that the Global Social Venture Competition is achieving its objective: the development of first-rate leaders with a strong commitment to creating both financial and social value," said Stephanie Bell-Rose, President of The Goldman Sachs Foundation. "We extend our congratulations to the winners of the 2004 competition."

A record-breaking number of 129 teams participated in this year's competition, representing a 36 percent increase in plans and a dramatic increase in international teams. International participation grew significantly with 33 plans submitted from teams in Canada, Costa Rica, Colombia, Finland, France, India, Kenya, the Netherlands, Peru, and Singapore. One plan was submitted by a joint team from Berkeley, Harvard, and Stanford.

The Global Social Venture Competition is unique among business plan competitions in that it gives equal weight to financial profitability and social return on investment. To compete successfully, social ventures must show a demonstrably greater impact of its social return on investment than existing firms in the industry. To be eligible, each plan must have one current MBA student from an accredited business school on the management team. All plans must demonstrate significant social return on investment and financial self-sufficiency or profitability.

The seed for this competition came from a student-organized social venture competition that originated at the Haas School of Business in 1999. Its focus on societal benefit is a major innovation among business plan competitions.


For more information, visit the GSVC web site at http://www.socialvc.net or contact the following media relations officers:

Haas School of Business
University of California, Berkeley
Ute Frey

Columbia Business School
Columbia University
Maria Graham

London Business School
Sarah Pearson
Tel: +44 (0)20 7706 6922
Fax: +44 (0)20 7724 8433
Out of hours: +44 (0)7785 816 379

The Goldman Sachs Foundation
Chris Williams


The Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at 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 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 to the social and environmental ramifications of business, which date back to its founding in 1898, creates a unique learning environment that gave birth to the National Social Venture Competition in 1999. The Lester Center has fostered the creation and development of the competition since its inception, and provides on-going support and guidance as part of its core mission to enhance entrepreneurship at the University and in the business community.

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 has been incorporated into the Global Social Venture Competition.

The Foundation for Entrepreneurial Management at London Business School
London Business School is one of the world's pre-eminent business schools. Based in the heart of London it nurtures talent and advances knowledge in a multi-national learning environment. The Foundation for Entrepreneurial Management (FEM) aims to make a lasting impact on the development of its partners' competitive advantage through:

The School's commitment to social venturing is long-standing and last year saw Social Venturing offered as an elective for MBA students for the first time. Aiming to give participants an insight into how social value is created, the course looks at the breadth of businesses that can be created that generate both social and economic returns as well as the variety of financial models that can be used to convert a good idea into a realisable opportunity.

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 $54 million since its inception, providing opportunities for young people in more than 20 countries.