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Press Release

UC Berkeley Press Release

MBA team Revolution Foods wins social venture competition

– Serving healthy home-style school lunches in the San Francisco Bay Area earned Revolution Foods, based in Emeryville, Calif., the $25,000 grand prize at the eighth annual Global Social Venture Competition held recently at the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business.

Revolution Foods, founded in August 2006 by Berkeley MBA graduates Kristin Richmond-Groos and Kirsten Tobey, has successfully replaced mystery meats with meals such as spaghetti marinara, couscous, brown rice and fresh fruit at nine charter schools.

The venture's deliveries have doubled to 1,500 meals per day since August and are expected to double again before the year's end. Revolution Foods also provides nutrition education and technical support to the schools they serve.

Despite using mostly organic foods, Revolution Foods provides its service at prices comparable to those of larger competitors. Creating a profitable business that also returns a positive social impact - healthier foods, higher awareness of the foods that children eat, and less obesity - is the definition of a social venture. Revolution Foods also engages in environmentally-responsible practices such as composting, provides employee benefits, and pays compensation above the living wage.

Revolution Foods competed last Friday, April 13, against nine other finalists from around the world. Their business plans were judged by venture capitalists, fellow social entrepreneurs and professionals familiar with the particular challenges of entrepreneurs pursuing a double bottom line.

Three teams tied for second place, each winning $5,000. They are:

  • d.light ( Stanford University's Graduate School of Business), which aims to replace kerosene or fuel-based lighting with cheaper, safer and brighter LED lighting for many of the 1.6 billion people around the globe who live without electricity.
  • Feed Resource Recovery (Babson College), which provides the food industry with a cost-effective waste disposal solution that produces renewable energy and organic fertilizer from the food waste generated by supermarkets and restaurants, thanks to an onsite waste conversion system.
  • Verdacure (Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand), provides an herbal remedy for periodontal disease. Verdacure's business model captures profits from selling its medicine through dental care providers in Thailand to pay for affordable mobile dental education and treatment services for rural villagers.

Stanford's d.light also won the $5,000 prize for providing the best sustainable impact assessment analysis for its venture. In addition to a business plan, all competing teams had to submit a social impact assessment that was judged by the five partner schools.

The Global Social Venture Competition was started by UC Berkeley MBA students in 1999. The Yale School of Management and Indian School of Business joined the Haas School, Columbia Business School and London Business School as partners this year. The University of Geneva and a consortium of business schools in Korea called Social Venture Competition Korea joined as affiliates.

A record 157 teams from 80 universities in 20 countries entered this year's competition.

Omidyar Network gave a $300,000 gift to support the competition over the next three years. Other sponsors include Hewlett-Packard Company, Morrison & Foerster LLP, Opus Prize Foundation, Gray Matters Capital, and New Resource Bank.

More details about the competition are online at: http://www.socialvc.net.