Haas Newsroom

Fair Trade Venture Takes Top Global Social Venture Competition Prize

Berkeley, Calif. (April 21, 2005) – World of Good, a venture that promotes employment through fair trade with disadvantaged communities in developing countries while also working to support fair labor practices and encourage local economic development has won first place in the 2005 Finals of the Global Social Venture Competition, held at the University of California, Berkeley on April 15. The business plan for World of Good was presented by a team of current and former Haas School of Business students.

The venture emerged as the winner from a finals field of nine teams drawn from business schools from around the world. Second place went to a health-technology venture submitted by a Columbia Business School team, and third place prize went to a fuel-efficiency venture with representatives from both London Business School and the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School.

The Global Social Venture Competition is unique among business plan competitions in that it gives equal weight to financial profitability and a social impact assessment (SIA). To compete successfully, social ventures must show a demonstrably greater impact in its SIA than the norm for existing firms in the industry. Each plan must have at least one current graduate business school student from an accredited business school on the management team.

The competition, founded by five Berkeley MBA students in 1999, has grown into a global partnership between UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, Columbia Business School in New York, and London Business School. Financial support is provided by long-time sponsor The Goldman Sachs Foundation and Omidyar Network, which joined the competition as a sponsor this year.

The top-placing teams share $60,000 in travel and cash prizes that will help them launch businesses committed to creating significant positive social impact.

"This year, the Global Social Venture Competition really came into its own with strong plans from Europe and Asia that rivaled the US entries," says Jerome Engel, executive director of the Haas School's Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which hosted this year’s competition. "Of course we are proud of World of Good, our home team that brought home the gold. They are a great entrepreneurial team."

The 2005 winners and the business schools they represent are:

First Place: World of Good (UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business) distributes a line of globally sourced fair trade gifts and accessories under fair trade guidelines that generate employment for women and disadvantaged communities, promise a living wage, and promote social and economic development.

Second Place : Connect US LLC ( Columbia University, Columbia Business School) uses wireless messaging to remind patients to take medication as prescribed to help minimize the social and financial burden placed on the US healthcare system when patients fail to follow doctors' orders.

Third Place : Fuelture ( University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, and London Business School) will support converting high-mileage urban vehicles (especially taxis and small delivery vans), to automotive propane or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) instead of gasoline, which would reduce running costs and improve urban air quality. Fuelture would simplify the conversion process and create a chain of filling stations.

Honorable mentions went to Fuerza Research ( Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management) and MicroCredit Enterprises (UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business and UC Davis, Graduate School of Management).

The special Social Impact Assessment Prize was awarded to Human Service Fellowship (Northwestern, Kellogg School of Management) for its plan to facilitate the hiring of skilled health workers by HIV/AIDS organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa. The honorable mention for this prize went to World of Good.


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
Tamara Williamson

Columbia Business School
Maria Graham

London Business School
Kerry Taylor
Tel: +44 (0)20 7706 6972
Fax: +44 (0)20 7724 8433

The Goldman Sachs Foundation
Christopher Williams

Background on GSVC Partners:

The Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovationat 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 of $62 million since its inception, providing opportunities for young people in more than 20 countries.