Social Venture Competition goes national with new partnership
Haas school, Columbia , Goldman Sachs Foundation encourage socially responsible business

By Ute Frey, Haas School of Business

12 September 2001 | The Haas School of Business and Columbia Business School announced Sept. 4 a joint partnership with The Goldman Sachs Foundation to create the National Social Venture Competition. The competition invites aspiring entrepreneurs to develop plans for businesses that have a clear, quantifiable social return as well as a healthy financial bottom line.

The Goldman Sachs Foundation is providing funding for the competition in the amount of $1.5 million to help build a national platform for social entrepreneurship.

The National Social Venture Competition originated in 1999 as a student-organized social venture competition at the Haas School of Business. In the past few years, the competition has attracted more than 100 teams from business schools across the United States and Europe. The new partnership will expand the competition’s reach and scale.

Throughout the year, the entrepreneurship centers of the two business schools will coordinate with the foundation to organize and promote national events in New York and the San Francisco Bay Area. The Eugene M. Lang Center for Entrepreneurship at Columbia Business School will host an inaugural Social Venture Symposium on Oct. 5 in New York City.

The symposium will feature a public dialogue with leaders in the social entrepreneurship arena to explore the growing demand and marketplace expectations for social ventures. The 2001-2002 national competition finals, hosted by the Haas School’s Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, will take place at Berkeley April 5-6.

“The National Social Venture Competition reflects the growing commitment of business leaders and entrepreneurs to foster profitable activities that address major social challenges, such as protecting the environment, preventing disease, and improving educational outcomes,” said Laura Tyson, dean of the Haas school. “Haas M.B.A. students have done an outstanding job in launching a business plan competition to promote socially responsible business ventures. Our new partnership with Columbia Business School and The Goldman Sachs Foundation will increase public awareness of these issues and encourage business students to employ the tools of business to create positive social change.”

“This unique and powerful partnership reflects Columbia’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurship as a vehicle for social change,” said Meyer Feldberg, dean of Columbia Business School. “Tomorrow’s business leaders must grasp more than convention; they must also be prepared to develop and steer businesses of all sizes and types through a global economy that demands consideration not only of profit and shareholder value, but also of broader human interests.”

The competition will be launched Oct. 5 in New York City at an all-day Social Venture Symposium at Columbia. The event will feature a public seminar on social entrepreneurship with the purpose of advancing academic research and public debate of this topic.

Teams’ executive summaries are due Jan. 18. Throughout the year, both schools will host additional events to encourage participation and evaluate submissions.

The final event of the 2001-2002 competition will be held at Haas in April. Up to $100,000 will be awarded to the winning teams.


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