If the social impact arena at Berkeley-Haas seemed busy and ambitious last year, the months ahead will be turbo-charged.
Here is a quick overview of major projects underway:
Philanthropy University. We have already written at about Philanthropy University here, and you can find more on its website here.
This major new partnership between Berkeley-Haas and Philananthropy U is offering free, online training courses as well as an open-source innovation platform for aspiring social impact leaders around the world. The first courses, taught by leading practitioners in social sector leadership, have already enrolled more than 150,000 people.
Suffice it to say, we are convinced this program will offer opportunities for change-makers as well as for Berkeley-Haas’s long-standing mission to train cross-sector leaders and redefine business.
*The Patagonia Case Competition. Patagonia, the apparel company long known for its commitment to environmental sustainability, has enlisted the Center for Responsible Business to oversee an environmental business-challenge competition. The exact challenge will be announced in January, and the final round of judging will be next April. This is more than a business plan competition: Patagonia is developing a challenge that require multi-disciplinary teams scientific, engineering and business expertise. Click here for more details.
*The Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award, another partnership with the Center for Responsible Business, will award a $10,000 prize (and a $2,500 runner-up prize) for innovative research on sustainable solutions to pressing world problems. This will be the sixth year that Berkeley-Haas has hosted the Dow competition. The deadline for applying is Oct. 19 – see here for more details.
*Sustainable Food Entrepreneurship – On Oct. 29, the CRB hosts a conference with three legendary leaders in the field: Alice Waters, Will Rosenzweig and Claus Meyer. Alice Waters, the founder of Chez Panisse and many other restaurants, is a pioneer of California cuisine and of the farm-to-table movement. Will Rosenzweig, managing director at Physic Ventures, has been both a food entrepreneur (Republic of Tea) and a venture capital investor (Odwalia, Stonyfield Farms, among others). He is also a long-time lecturer at Berkeley-Haas. Claus Meyer, co-founder of Copenhagen’s Noma Restaurant and an architect of New Nordic Cuisine, is a food activist and entrepreneur on multiple continents. He is also a Social Impact Fellow at Berkeley-Haas. Among many other accomplishments, Meyer created a culinary training program for Danish prison inmates. He is now establishing a Nordic restaurant at New York City’s Grand Central Station.
*Design Challenge: Preventing and Managing Diabetes. A recent study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 50% of Americans are either diabetic or pre-diabetic. Digital technologies to monitor and tame blood sugar abound, but technologies can only be effective if patients and health care providers fully implement them. That means finding strategies to overcome social and practical obstacles. To that end, the Graduate Program in Health Management is hosting the Innovation in Diabetes Design Challenge. Funded by the Anthem Foundation, the Design Challenge begins with a hackathon at UC Berkeley on Oct. 24. The winning team will receive $1,000, and the best ideas will be invited to a pitch competition at the Haas Health Care Conference on Nov. 6. The “best pitch” will win $2,000, and the top teams will be invited to present prototypes in the final round of judging next spring.
*Global Social Venture Competition: Going to Thailand. Berkeley-Haas has organized and hosted the annual Global Social Venture Competition for nearly two decades. In partnership with 13 business schools around the world, the GSVC awards $50,000 in prize money each year to bold social-venture start-ups. The competition attracts hundreds of entries from dozens of nations, and winners are selected through three rounds of judging that usually culminate at Berkeley-Haas each spring. You can read about the 2015 winners here. In 2016, however, the final round will be hosted Bangkok, Thailand, by Thammasat Business School. Thammasat, our regional partner for Southeast Asia, has long been a major participant in the global competition. It should be an extraordinary year. The GSVC final judging will return to Berkeley-Haas in 2017.