China is one of the most intensely discussed countries in most business conversations today and has found its way into almost every RC course. It is not surprising therefore that the winning business plans for both the traditional and social enterprise (‘concept’ phase) tracks were targeted to Chinese communities.
The HBS Business Plan Contest Awards Ceremony was held on April 25 in Burden Auditorium. Five finalist teams from the traditional track and three finalist teams from the social enterprise track competed for prizes in excess of $50,000. This year the social enterprise track was expanded to include not only ECs but Harvard University Reynolds Fellows, who are graduate students at KSG, GSE, and HSPH focused on social entrepreneurship, and Harvard students enrolled in the Social Enterprise Collaboratory course at KSG.
Due to the expansion, two sub-tracks were created within the social enterprise track – a concept phase and a pilot phase. Concept phase teams included those that were in the early stages of development, while pilot phase teams had begun pilot or test operations in some form and/or raised some initial capital or revenues.
The three winning teams, traditional track “8baorice”, social enterprise track’s concept phase “Yashmere”, and the social enterprise track’s pilot phase “Mountains for Miracles”, were top among fifty-nine teams in total. Students started the official process in January and initially competed in the Business Plan Contest on April 1, “Super Saturday.”
Over seventy judges listened to teams pitch their ideas through a power point presentation, accompanied by a full business plan.
The traditional track winner, Tingting Zhong, received the Dubilier Prize, $10,000 cash and $10,000 accounting and legal services. Four runners-up received the Satchu-Burgstone Entrepreneurship Award, receiving $5,000 cash and $5,000 accounting and legal services. The Peter M. Sacerdote Prize was awarded to the winning and runner up teams of the social enterprise track, with the winners from both the concept and pilot phase tracks receiving $10,000 cash and $10,000 legal and consulting services, and the runner up team in the concept phase receiving $5,000 cash and $5,000 services.
Professor Mike Roberts highly encouraged RCs to enter the contest next year. He explained that the majority of work required for developing business plans is well integrated into the academic curriculum and field studies. Will Alston, member of the traditional track team, advises that “.whether the business plan results in an actual business, the experience is worthwhile.”
A recent survey of past HBS Business Plan Contest participants revealed that two-thirds of students who participated in the contest started their own businesses, of which fifty percent were based on plans born from entries in the HBS Business Plan Contest.
Professor Bill Sahlman cautioned students against measuring success in entrepreneurial ventures merely by how much money is made but rather on the magnitude of the impact the business has on the world.
The HBS Business Plan Contest was sponsored by Bridgespan Group, Deloitte & Touche, Foley Hoag, Highland Capital Partners, Hinckley Allen & Snyder, and Polaris Venture Partners. A special thanks to Alice Moses and Andrea McGrath for their assistance with the entire program.
Traditional Track Winner
Team: Tingting Zhong (HBS)
Description: Destination and online community for Chinese women.
Traditional Track Finalists
Team: Tanuj Deora (HBS), Carol Chao, Sue Mayo, Alan Mattamana (HBS student), Tod Perry, Elliot Zimmer (HBS student)
Description: Acillix will deliver on the promise of biotechnology by revolutionizing the water treatment industry with our patented, low cost, environmentally friendly process for water demineralization.
Elective Medical Lending
Team: Boyd Bishop (HBS student), Simon Mattox, Sheldon Krancher
Description: Elective Medical Lending (EML) is a service based sales, marketing, and finance company that enhances a rapidly growing lending market for elective medical and dental procedures by introducing a new method of financing.
Team: Nils Bennemann (HBS), Bernhard Kreymann
Description: Development andÿ commercialization of an efficient and affordable liver support therapy to increase the chances of survival for patients with chronic or acute liver failure.
Team: Jonathan Oakes (HBS), Nathan Freitas
Description: Open Network Television, LLC (ONTV) was founded in 2005 to reinvent the way ideas and inspirations are shared, experienced and commercialized in a digital world.
Social Enterprise Track ‘Concept’ Phase Winner
Team Members: Shawn Tan (HBS), Carol Chyau (KSG), Marie So (KSG), Jose Dias de Barros (HBS), Esther Hsuÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ
Description: The Yashmere Company is a sustainable and socially responsibleventure providing a steady source of income to marginalized communities inChina by bringing Yashmere yarn to the U.S. knitters market.
Social Enterprise Track ‘Concept’ Phase First Runner-Up
Team Members: Jacob Korenblum (KSG-GSE), Jarrett Goetz (KSG-MIT Sloan Fellows), Dan Dellenbach (GSE)
Description: Souktel is reducing unemployment among Palestinian youth andhelping small businesses in the West Bank by establishing a cell-phone basedjob matching service, utilizing partnerships with local universities andcellular service providers.
Social Enterprise Track ‘Concept’ Phase Finalists
Team Members: PJ Kim (HBS-KSG), Andrew Gaies (Law), Kevin Palma (HBS), Elizabeth Pollack (MIT Sloan)
Description: FairMarket Financial will provide low cost tax preparation forlow wage workers at their work site, especially for those qualifying for theEarned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the government’s most successfulanti-poverty program. Grameen Vikas “Rural Progress”
Team Members: Abhinav Dhall (HBS), Vishal Sehgal (KSG), Chad Hazlett (KSG)
Description: Grameen Vikas “Rural Project” Peanut Butter is a model ofpro-poor rural industrialization for India, first using peanut butterproduction to raise and stabilize rural incomes among the poor, whileproviding social services, nutritional benefits, and the basis for furtherrural growth.
Social Enterprise Track ‘Pilot’ Phase Winner
Mountains for Miracles
Team Members: John Serafini (HBS-KSG), Andrew Murphy (HBS-KSG), Jamie Ponce(HBS-KSG), Ben Renda (KSG)
Description: More American children die from cancer than from any otherdisease. Mountains for Miracles addresses this social concern by combining mountaineering with fundraising to generate the funds and awareness needed to find a cure. Our inaugural campaign is a record-setting expedition to climb the tallest mountain on each of the seven continents within sevenmonths. We intend to use the catalyst of this exciting expedition as afundraising platform to reach our goal of $5MM for pediatric oncologyresearch at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund.
Social Enterprise Track ‘Pilot’ Phase Finalists
Team Members: Jason Langheier (HSPH/Reynolds Fellow)
Description: Fitnet aims to empower productive, healthy living in modernsociety through personalized lifestyle plans and fitness and nutritiontechnologies that integrate with the pace of life.
Team Members: Parag Gupta (KSG), Adeeb Mahmud (KSG/Reynolds Fellow)
Description: IDEAS supports social entrepreneurs in institutionalizing theirprograms via government funding through a synergy of strategic consulting,evaluation, and advocacy campaign management matched with channeled Diaspora funding.