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Berkeley’s Haas School Hosts 15th Annual Global Social Venture Competition

The Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley will welcome 18 entrepreneurial teams from around the world this week, there to compete for $55,000 in prizes as part of the Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC).

The GSVC global finals, taking place April 9th through 11th, will showcase a range of innovative business ideas designed to generate positive social impact. This year’s teams are presenting concepts ranging from celebrity-sponsored nonprofit fundraising to salinity sensors for small-plot shrimp.

Now in its 15th year, GSVC – which was founded by Berkeley Haas MBA students – has awarded more than $500,000 to emerging social ventures. To celebrate GSVC’s anniversary this year, several competition alumni will give presentations as part of a conference to coincide with the public finals on April 11th.

Keynote speakers will include Kirsten Saenz Tobey, MBA ’06, founder and chief impact officer of 2007 GSVC winner Revolution Foods, Priya Haji, MBA ’03, co-founder and CEO of SaveUp and co-founder of GSVC 2005 winner World of Good, and Carlos Orellana, MBA/MPH ’10, founder and CEO of salaUno.

“For the last 15 years, the GSVC has empowered entrepreneurs to launch sustainable ventures that are improving the health of ecosystems and communities from Berkeley to Burkina Faso,” GSVC Co-chair Ali Kelley, MBA ’15, said in a statement. “As students, we are encouraged to apply business skills to effect positive, real-world change. Social impact is ingrained in Haas culture.”

There were 500 team entries from 44 different countries for this year’s competition. Teams are drawn from a global network of 14 partner schools and outreach organizations, including two newly added Latin American schools: Universidad de los Andes, Colombia and the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.

The global finals held each spring at Haas are comprised of two winning teams from each of several regional semifinals. The finals consist of two rounds. During the private first round on April 10th, the 18 finalist teams will present to a panel of judges, which will select six to eight teams to compete the next day for cash prizes at the public global final.

In addition to the $25,000 grand prize, $15,000 second prize, and $7,500 third prize, finalists on the second day are also in the running for a $1,500 People’s Choice Award, decided by audience votes, as well as a $1,000 Quick Pitch Award, also determined by audience votes. This year’s competition also features a $5,000 award sponsored by Intel for the best technology solution.

Finalist teams also get to take part in a GSVC boot camp on April 9th. Now in its second year, the boot camp provides workshops and educational training.

Learn more about the 15th Annual GSVC at Berkeley’s Haas School.