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Spring 2002 CalBusiness  
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Expanded Competition Draws More Social Ventures

Business plans for low-cost energy, alternative packing materials, and urban charter schools came out on top this year at the Third Annual National Social Venture Competition.

The competition, a joint venture between Haas, Columbia Business School, and the Goldman Sachs Foundation, awarded prizes totaling $100,000 to teams presenting business plans that are profitable, financially sustainable, and that demonstrate a quantifiable social return on investment.

Nobel Laureate in economics Daniel McFadden, professor in UC Berkeley's Department of Economics, supported the concepts on which the competition is based in his keynote speech at the final awards ceremony. "I approve of what this social venture competition is trying to accomplish," McFadden said, "that it is a hard-headed approach to social and environmental concerns that respects the bottom line. It does not depend on the kindness of others, and it recognizes that more can be accomplished by joining social and environmental concerns with private enterprise than by casting business as the necessary enemy of social concerns."

The Regale Corporation (UC Berkeley) won in the Best Blended Value Business category for their idea to design and manufacture technologically advanced and environmentally friendly molded products as alternatives to plastics and foams (pictured below). Wilson TurboPower (MIT) seized the Grand Prize in the High Growth category by demonstrating profitability within five years for its plan to produce next-generation micro-turbines. Columbia's plan for the Bronx Charter School for the Arts also proved to be a winner in the Medium Growth category, indicative of a longer path to profitability with significant social impact.

The contest was judged by a mix of venture philanthropists, social venture investors, angel investors, venture capitalists, and social venture entrepreneurs. This year, the competition attracted 77 business plan submissions from 31 business schools across the United States, a 140% increase from last year. For more on the competition, visit http://www.socialvc.net.

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Social Venture Competition winner Regale
 
Social Venture Competition winner Regale (left to right: Greg Gale, Gerrit Van Roekel and Karl Gee) displays the environmentally friendly packaging they developed.
 
 
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