16th Annual Global Social Venture Competition ($50,000 in prizes)

16th Annual Global Social Venture Competition ($50,000 in prizes)

Deadline: December 5, 2014

Do you have an innovative social enterprise idea? Enter the Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC), the world’s preeminent social business plan competition providing aspiring entrepreneurs with mentoring, exposure, and $50,000 in prize money to transform their business ideas into positive real-world impact. In 2014, GSVC received 600 entries from nearly 40 countries. Previous years’ finalists include Husk Power, Revolution Foods, and d.light design.

GSVC leads entrant teams through an experiential learning process that helps them develop innovative, scalable solutions to the world’s greatest challenges. Through our global network of 13 partner schools and competitions, we give teams the connections, support, and exposure needed to advance their social ventures and create their own path to impact.

This year, GSVC is excited to announce a few big changes to the competition structure:

  1. Stakeholder Interviews: A social venture’s potential depends on understanding and responding to its key priority stakeholders. To position our entrants for success, we are requiring a minimum number of stakeholder interviews be completed for each round.
  2. Concept deck: The traditional business plan document is being replaced with a simpler deck that builds from round to round, allowing teams to focus on and iterate within four key social venture components: opportunity, solution, impact and team.


GSVC awards prizes to the social venture teams that show the highest, most integrated financial and social returns – businesses that demonstrate blended value.

Ensure your venture is eligible

  • Submitted ventures should plan to be financially sustainable or profitable; whether it is a commercial business or a tax-exempt organization, your venture must have plans to be self-sufficient on earned revenue.
  • Submitted ventures must be scalable long term. This criterion will mean different things for each business plan. Scalability will take into account the potential for growth of the business, both financially and in its social impact.
  • Submitted ventures must have a quantifiable social and/or environmental bottom line incorporated into their mission and practices.
  • Submitted ventures must be less than 3 years old (with the start of the venture marked by first income or first patent, whichever occurred earlier) as of April, 2015.
  • Submitted ventures may not be a wholly owned subsidiary of an existing entity (of either a for-profit or non-profit entity)

Ensure your team is eligible

  • Your team must include a graduate student (current or within two years of graduation as of December 31, 2014) from any masters-level or post-graduate higher education program in any area of study in the world; the student must be actively involved in the venture (i.e., actively participating in development of the business plan or actively working on the business).
  • Your team should include a statement in the business plan describing the graduate student’s level of involvement.
  • The graduate student or recent graduate must be one of the plan’s presenters (and must be available to answer judges’ questions regarding the business) in the final round of the competition.
  • Teams are strongly encouraged to include seasoned entrepreneurs and professionals with relevant skills and experience.

Other qualifications

  • A business plan cannot enter the competition in more than two consecutive years (but you can enter 2 years in a row).
  • A team cannot enter the competition more than twice.
  • All submissions for the Global Finals round must be written in English.
  • Your entry must include a financial analysis as well as a Social Impact Assessment (SIA), including the Social Value Proposition and Social Indicators. Learn more on the SIA page of the website.
  • Your entry must include a statement on what your team would do with the prize money.

How to Enter

  1. Form, join, or lead a dynamic team (use our Facebook page to share your idea and recruit team members).
  2. Complete the new first round deliverables that include an executive summary, stakeholder interviews, and a concept deck.

About GSVC

The Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) provides aspiring entrepreneurs with mentoring, exposure, and $50,000 in prizes to transform their ideas into businesses that will have positive real world impact. Founded by MBA students at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, the GSVC has evolved into a global network supported by an internal community of volunteer judges, mentors and student organizers and a partnership of premier business schools in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa. In 2014, GSVC received over 600 entries from nearly 40 countries. Previous years’ finalists include Faso Soap, TOHL, Reel Gardening, Pulpworks, Carbon Roots, Revolution Foods, and d. light design.

For more information, visit Global Social Venture Competition.