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National Social Venture Symposium at UC Berkeley to explore issues and metrics in social entrepreneurship
05 September 2002

By Ute Frey, Haas School of Business

Berkeley - Leaders in academia, philanthropy and social entrepreneurship will meet at the University of California, Berkeley, on Friday, Sept. 13, for the National Social Venture Symposium. Organized by UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, Columbia Business School and The Goldman Sachs Foundation, participants will discuss issues facing business enterprises that strive for social as well as financial returns.

The symposium, to be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., will explore the practical paradoxes involved in growing, managing and investing in ventures seeking both financial and social returns, with a particular focus on how to measure social returns on investment.

Symposium participants will include social investors, entrepreneurs from the private and non-profit sectors, and faculty and students from leading universities where the study of social enterprise and entrepreneurship is taking root.

Jed Emerson, senior fellow at the Hewlett Foundation and a lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, will give the keynote address in the morning. Emerson has been the leading force in defining and developing metrics to measure social return on investment across industries.

The symposium is the opening event of the 2002-03 National Social Venture Competition and is hosted by the Haas School's Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at UC Berkeley.

The competition is a national business plan contest for teams of MBA students and entrepreneurs that began three years ago at the Haas School. It expanded its national scope in 2001 with new partners, the Columbia Business School in New York and The Goldman Sachs Foundation, headquartered in New York. That foundation has provided $1.5 million in funding for the competition.

Together, the three institutions are committed to building upon their respective networks of global business leaders, academics, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs to achieve their vision: the expansion of social entrepreneurship globally.

The growing interest in this field may be evidenced by a 140 percent increase from last year in the number of business plan submissions to the 2002 competition.

Throughout the year, the entrepreneurship centers at the UC Berkeley and Columbia University business schools will coordinate with The Goldman Sachs Foundation to organize and promote national events in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City.

The 2002-03 national competition finals will be hosted by the Eugene M. Lang Center for Entrepreneurship at Columbia Business School on April 11-12, 2003. Entrants will compete for $100,000 in prizes to launch their proposed new businesses.

BACKGROUND:

The Haas School of Business and The Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
The Haas School of Business at UC 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. 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, present since 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 has been incorporated into the National Social Venture Competition.

The Goldman Sachs Foundation
The Goldman Sachs Foundation, a nonprofit grant-making organization, is the global philanthropic arm of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. The mission of the foundation is to promote excellence and innovation in education and to improve the academic performance and lifelong productivity of young people worldwide. The driving values of the foundation's grant-making strategy are openness to fresh approaches, rigor in selection, and efficient use of resources to support the best ideas and practices in education around the globe.

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