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Sustainable Technology Key to Next Generation Business -- Challenging MBA Students with Business Plan Competitions

Submitted by: Foundation for a Sustainable Future

Categories: Business Ethics

Posted: Jan 06, 2007 – 11:09 AM EST


Jan. 06 /CSRwire/ - PITTSBURGH, PA., Jan 2, 2007 -- Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business has added a “Sustainable Technology” award to its 2006 Annual McGinnis Venture Competition.

This is an important addition because -- in light of depleting resources and global warming -- there is an increasing sense of urgency in developing environmentally-responsible and sustainable technology to address energy issues that are commercially viable.

The Sustainable Technology contest is open to MBA students worldwide with a business plan that can meet traditional profitability and ROI standards, and also demonstrate a ”dual bottom-line” result -- that is, yield both financial and environmental benefits. Contestants have a chance to win between $15,000 and $100,000 in prize money, an opportunity to raise additional capital, intellectual property services, and business mentoring.

These competitions have catalyzed many entrepreneurs with more than just seed money, according to Vanessa Stewart, whose startup company Soltage raised initial funds by winning several business plan competitions. “The true value was the trial by fire in front of over 45 VCs and business folks,” she said. After that, her company raised angel money from every single investor approached.

Sarosh Kumana, founder of and a Tepper MBA alumnus, convinced the business school to add the Sustainable Technology Award to its annual business plan competition. Kumana expects to see submissions from all over the world. “Because some of these ideas are most needed in places like India and China, we have a Travel Award program to grant scholarships for eligible finalists. This should take the edge off the high cost of flying half way around the world to present the business idea,” he said.

The Sustainable Technology Award, will be judged by national experts in their respective fields, including venture capitalists, angel investors, and successful entrepreneurs. Contestants will be subject to the same basic judging criteria established by Tepper’s Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, assessing profitability and originality. In addition, the award will evaluate each plan’s sustainability benefits -- for example, how the project will contribute to carbon neutrality, climate change mitigation, energy efficiency, beneficial materials (toxicity, efficiency, etc), and water security. Finally, the competitors must also discuss and analyze metrics by which these benefits could be quantified.

The competition and award ceremony will take place at the CMU campus in Pittsburgh, PA. on March 15 - 17, including a keynote speech by Vinod Khosla, a renowned venture capitalist and one of the country’s most influential advocates of green technology. Khosla received his Masters in Biomedical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon and later went on to make a fortune as a co-founder of Sun Microsystems and as a venture capitalist. He recently formed Khosla Ventures to focus on sustainable technology investments.

Contestants must submit their intention to compete by January 31, 2007, followed by the full business plan submission by March 1. To be considered for a travel scholarship, submissions need to be sent separately to the Travel Award Judging Committee by February 21, 2007.

For more information, see and

For more information, please contact:

Jeanne Trombly Foundation for a Sustainable Future
Phone: 415-336-4505

For more from this organization:

Foundation for a Sustainable Future


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