SAN FRANCISCO, CA. - October 15, 2008 - Social Venture Network (SVN), the country's leading network of socially responsible entrepreneurs, investors and nonprofit leaders, today revealed the six winners of the 2nd Annual SVN Innovation Awards. The Awards support the "next generation" of socially responsible business and nonprofit leaders by providing them access to the people and resources that can help support the growth and success of their enterprises.
A panel of 15 judges, including venture capitalists, socially responsible CEOs, academic and nonprofit leaders, selected twelve finalists from the applications that were received. After a final judging stage, they selected these six winners:
- Timothy O'Shea, chairman and founder of CleanFish, based in San Francisco, Calif., is working to lead the global market to sustainable seafood production. CleanFish works with artisan fishing communities around the world to help bring their sustainably harvested fish to a global marketplace, providing economic opportunities to fishermen and their communities while raising consumer demand for sustainable sources of fish. A key CleanFish service is a communications program that differentiates sustainable seafood products through product presentations at restaurants and retailers across the United States.
- Based in Oakland, Calif., Michelle Kaufmann Designs' mission is to make sustainably designed homes accessible and affordable, thus making it easier for more people to live green. Each home incorporates five EcoPrinciples: smart design, eco materials, energy efficiency, water conservation and healthy environment. To achieve the goal, Michelle mass produces thoughtfully designed homes using prefabricated modular building technology. A great example of Michelle's vision is an 80-unit project she is working on in Denver, Colorado. By mixing market rate and affordable housing in one development, she is helping create more diverse, equitable neighborhoods to foster understanding and create greater opportunities for underserved communities.
- MicroCredit Enterprises, based in Davis, Calif. and founded in 2005 by CEO Jonathan Lewis, is a pioneering program leveraging "idle capital" (the investment portfolios of individual investors) to serve as guarantees for loans to microfinance organizations, so they can make more loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries. The primary focus of MicroCredit Enterprises is sustainable economic development for families living in extreme poverty ($1 per day or less). MicroCredit Enterprises gives special consideration to microfinance programs that increase the number of poor clients served. It also operates comprehensive social service programs, such as women’s empowerment, health education and business training.
- Partners for the Common Good (PCG), based in Washington, D.C., and led by CEO Jeannine Jacokes, is creating the first wholesale loan participation network to serve the needs of low-income communities. By providing capital access to borrowers often shut out of the economic mainstream, they create business opportunities for low-income people and communities. PCG's borrowers build and renovate affordable housing, revitalize neighborhoods, build healthy communities and facilitate entrepreneurship. PCG helps remedy the significant gap that exists between borrowers that need capital and socially-motivated investors who want to make the world a better place.
- Kirsten Tobey and Kristin Richmond, co-founders of Revolution Foods, based in Alameda, Calif., believe that all students should have healthy, fresh meals on a daily basis at school. They offer a daily meal service in schools throughout California, featuring meals that have no high fructose corn syrup or trans fats and contain only the highest-quality organic ingredients that meet Whole Foods Market's stringent quality standards. This includes rBST-free dairy products, antibiotic- and hormone-free meats, fresh fruits and vegetables. Revolution Foods offers an attractive, affordable solution to the food quality crisis facing schools today by providing healthy, affordable meals, a service that is particularly critical in underserved communities with little access to nutritious food.
- Root Capital, based in Cambridge, Mass, is a nonprofit social investment fund that provides $25,000-$750,000 loans to rural enterprises that provide meaningful employment and social services to disadvantaged communities in the developing world. Recognizing that most grassroots businesses lack the technical expertise to manage capital from commercial institutions, Root Capital, under the leadership of its president and founder, William Foote, developed a financial training program to strengthen participants' abilities to manage rapid business growth driven by the increasing demand for their products. The newly established program aims to equip leaders of farmer and artisan associations with critical skills to build their businesses and become attractive clients to local financial institutions.
"We appreciate the difficult task set before our judges of choosing our winners from a pool of outstanding finalists, and we're grateful for their time and effort," said Tina Sciabica, Deputy Director of Social Venture Network. "We look forward to honoring the winners at our awards ceremony and recognizing the work they are doing. We also applaud the efforts of our six other finalists, as well as the inspiring initiatives being implemented by all of our applicants this year."
SVN Innovation Award winners will be honored at the invitation-only SVN 2008 Fall Conference, to be held October 23-26 at the Estancia La Jolla outside of San Diego, California. In a special ceremony hosted by Ed Begley, Jr. on the evening of Friday, October 24th, they will share their work with an audience of successful socially responsible business leaders, investors and social entrepreneurs.
To support the growth of their enterprises, Innovation Award winners will receive a one-year membership in SVN. They will be promoted for one year on the SVN website and be partnered with select SVN leaders, who will provide mentorship and make helpful introductions throughout 2009.
Since 1987, SVN has inspired a community of innovative business leaders, investors, and social entrepreneurs to collectively pursue a more just and sustainable economy, through the growth of such initiatives as socially responsible investing, organics, fair trade, sustainable consumer products, local economies, and green building. SVN champions this effort through member-led initiatives, sharing of tools and best practices, the SVN Book Series and bi-annual conferences that empower its members to work together on behalf of this shared vision.
About Social Venture Network
Founded in 1987 by Josh Mailman and Wayne Silby, Social Venture Network (SVN) is a peer-to-peer network of CEOs, investors, and nonprofit leaders committed to building a just economy and sustainable planet. SVN believes in a triple bottom line for business, one that values healthy communities and the human spirit, as well as high returns. SVN members are part of an expanding global network of pioneering entrepreneurs who share this vision and are helping to transform the way the world does business.
Notable SVN members include Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's, Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Farm, Van Jones of Green for All/Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Eileen Fisher of Eileen Fisher Inc., Priya Haji of World of Good, Julius Walls, Jr. of Greyston Bakery, Amy Domini of Domini Social Investments, Tom Szaky of TerraCycle, and Gary Erickson of Clif Bar Inc.