William James Foundation to Provide $40,000 in Cash and Prizes to Socially Responsible Business Plan

Monday, November 26, 2007

The William James Foundation announces its 5th Annual Socially Responsible Business Plan Competition.

This competition supports entrepreneurs who are committed to multiple-bottom line businesses (people, planet, profit) by providing entrants with expert feedback and over $40,000 in cash and in-kind prizes to the top plans. Past winners have included business ventures in a wide array of fields ranging from an environmentally sustainable low-income housing developer; portable vaccine pacs used to safely transport supplies to medical outreach centers worldwide; and hand-made organic clothing and accessories using closed-loop resource cycling.

The competition is open to for-profit business (or business ideas) with at least one member who is a current student or has graduated within the past ten years. If you are interested in submitting an entry, please see www.williamjamesfoundation.org for details and entry qualifications or contact ian.fisk@williamjamesfoundation.org.

The prizes include cash, software, legal and accounting services, and technical and communications consulting. The competition winners choose the prize most valuable to them in order of finish. There are also specific prizes for certain focus areas, such as environmental sustainability.

The primary prize is the feedback given to every qualified plan. The judges are experts in both social ventures and traditional business plans, and include community activists, Wall Street professionals, academics, and CEOs of national for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Each plan will be read multiple times from different viewpoints.

Ian Fisk, executive director of the William James Foundation and a longtime sustainable business activist through Net Impact, says “We’re at a tipping point wherein the entrepreneur who builds in long-term values of sustainability is the one who will be successful. Most of what people think of as environmental and social activism in business is simply long-term thinking about energy costs, human resources, and pricing. There are thousands of good ideas out there. The foundation wants to find those that are attached to solid business plans and help them succeed.”

In a break from previous years, the foundation has moved our timeline up two months so that the Executive Summaries for the 2007-08 competition are due Friday, November 16th. This will allow entrants to our competition to use the feedback provided in other competitions.

On December 7th, the Foundation will hold an educational symposium in the Washington, DC area, providing general feedback to all entrants in attendance, and announcing which teams will be invited to submit full plans in the next round. Out of those, three finalists will compete in a public presentation on March 7th in Washington, DC where audience members will join judges in a question and answer session.

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Source: CSRwire (link opens in a new window)