The Global Social Venture Competition: Enter Now

Drinkwell: 2015 GSVC Winner


Calling social entrepreneurs from around the world: the application deadline for the 2016 Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) is coming up fast on Dec. 4.

Offering a total of $50,000 in prizes, the GSVC aims to identify the most innovative and promising social enterprise start-ups in three rounds of judging.

Last year’s competition attracted more than 500 entries from 40 nations. The first-place winner was Drinkwell, which developed a technology and a business model for water filtration systems that protect people from arsenic in groundwater.

Berkeley-Haas is once again playing a leading role, with its GSVC efforts now based in the Institute for Business and Social Impact.

For the first time ever, however, the Global Finals event will be hosted by Thammasat Business School in Bangkok, Thailand.

In each round, the social venture start-ups will be evaluated for the business potential (33%), their social or environmental impact (33%), and their likelihood of success (33%).

In the first round of judging, each of the GSVC’s 13 business school partners will advance a select number of ventures that will then compete in a round of regional semi-finals. The top teams from each regional finals will then travel to Bangkok for the final round in April.

You can find all the details about eligibility and the judging process at our website.

One crucial point: teams are expected to present their concepts based in large part on the “Lean Launch” methodology pioneered by Steven Blank. Instead of presenting elaborate business plans, for example, teams are expected to base their pitches on executive summaries of their business models, along with summaries of interviews with stakeholders and resume information. Teams can get resources on the Lean Launch approach here.

The GSVC’s focus is on true start-ups, but start-ups that have both a sound business model and quantifiable social or environmental benefits.   The ventures must be less than 2 years old; have received less than $250,000 in venture capital and less than $500,000 in lifetime revenue; and graduate business students have to play key roles.

Their business models will be evaluated for their financial sustainability and scalability, as well as on how well they target a clearly defined social problem and offer a clear value proposition to customers and other stakeholders. The winning ventures will be those that best integrate social and financial impact.


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