December 11

Moses Lee

The Next: Intention to Compete Forms Due January 15

At the recent 2009 Net Impact Conference, I overheard a number of students talking about participating in TheNext:2010 Case Writing Competition.

“Are you going to enter the competition?” said one student.

“Yeah, I think it’ll be a great opportunity to get more involved in this field,” replied the other.

Indeed, this case writing competition is an excellent way to contribute to the emerging field of business for social impact and interact with leading figures in the space. But to enter, you must complete an Intention to Compete Form by January 15, 2010.

We have an all-star lineup of judges for the competition. Bob Kennedy (Executive Director, WDI), Brian Trelstad (Chief Investment Officer, Acumen Fund) and Virginia Barreiro (New Ventures Global Director, WRI) have each agreed to be a judge for the competition. In addition, we have recently added base of the pyramid guru Ted London (Senior Research Fellow and Director, Base of the Pyramid Initiative, University of Michigan) and Ravi Anupindi (Professor of Operations and Management Science, University of Michigan).

To make the competition meaningful and relevant to the field, the case competition will center on key questions that the three sponsoring organizations are currently wrestling with:

  • Where can markets work best to address issues of poverty?
  • What business models and business innovations are effective in developing scalable businesses serving low-income markets in the developing world?
  • What are the consumer behaviors – in terms of spending and decision-making – that define market opportunities?
  • How can market-based approaches to poverty alleviation achieve their goals while also protecting natural resources and preventing environmental degradation?
  • How can the public and/or private sector best support the development of businesses serving the poor?

The hope is that these cases will be used to better inform their organizations, help academics teach this material to future leaders, and ultimately, make a tremendous social impact on the ground.

And an added reason to participate in this competition? Prize money! Prizes will be awarded as follows:

  • First: $1000
  • Second: $500
  • Third: $250
  • Fourth and Fifth: $100

Finally, winners will be interviewed and profiled on and will receive an autographed copy of Jacqueline Novogratz’s new book, The Blue Sweater.

Cases are due April 30th, 2010. For more information on the competition, please click here or email me.