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Socially Responsible Business Plan Competition to provide $60,000 in prizes

Submitted by: Foundation for a Sustainable Future

Categories: Ratings & Awards, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Nov 18, 2008 – 10:59 PM EST


Nov. 18 /CSRwire/ - WASHINGTON, DC. – November 19, 2008 - The William James Foundation is teaming up with the Foundation for a Sustainable Future and The Affinity Lab to offer more then $60,000 in cash and in-kind prizes to socially responsible and sustainable entrepreneurs.

For the past six years, the William James Foundation has managed business plan competitions for visionaries who want to support and invest in entrepreneurs who have a social and/or environmental mission in addition to their goals of financial success. This year's prizes include:

The William James Foundation Social Responsibility prizes are business plans that integrate measurable social value into a new for-profit business. In addition to the prizes described below, The William James Foundation works with more than 150 judges who provided detailed feedback at every level of the competition, allowing us to read each plan five to ten times and providing each qualified entrant will receive an average of 10 pages of constructive criticism per round. 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. The William James Foundation is pleased to announce that the Prosperity League of America will be sponsoring our 1st place prize.

The Richard Heinberg Sustainability prizes are for the best business plans that measurably increase global sustainability while making money, to harness the power of business to build sustainability on the planet. The prize is sponsored by the Foundation for a Sustainable Future (FSF). FSF sponsors projects around the world, including sustainable and clean tech business plan competitions, public policy innovation, education, technology transfer, expansion of economic theory to include sustainability concepts like resource constraints and externalities, etc. FSF founder Sarosh Kumana says, "We seek projects that will catalyze the process of transitioning to a sustainable world, not just for humans, but for all life forms."

The Affinity Lab DC prizes are for the best new business that serves and supports the Washington, DC Community. This prize is sponsored by the Affinity Lab, one of the oldest and most effective collaborative start-up and co-working spaces in the world. It is a home, platform and nexus for growing entrepreneurial ventures. By providing scalable opportunities, office infrastructure, business tools and a collaborative community the Lab creates the space for individuals and organizations to succeed.

Competition entrants can qualify for one, two, or all three sets of prizes depending on the focus of their business idea. Past winners of William James Foundation competitions include: environmentally sustainable manufactured housing developers; an Afghanistan company that is helping locals return to a more stable life; low-cost medical technology designed for use in rural Africa, and hand-made organic clothing and accessories using closed-loop resource cycling.

The competition is open to for-profit businesses (or business ideas) from anywhere in the world, and entrants can be of any age. If you are interested in submitting an entry, see www.williamjamesfoundation.org/criteria for details and entry qualifications or contact the foundation at competition@williamjamesfoundation.org.

The prizes include cash and professional services from other socially responsible businesses who are helping the Foundation to grow the next generation of multiple bottom line businesses. In-kind donors include CitySoft, Affinity Labs, Community IT Innovators, Acumen Financial, Strategic Sustainability Consulting, HIP Investor, Joint Concepts, Social Enterprise Associates, Better World Telecom, Stargazer Consulting, Net Impact, The Sustainable Business Network of Washington, M&T Bank, ThinkHost, AmeriPrise Financial Services, Wall Street Without Walls, Vivavi, EcoPrint, ITF Consulting, Honest Tea, and others. Winners choose the prizes most valuable to them in order of finish.

Ian Fisk, Executive Director of the William James Foundation, says "Most of what people think of as environmental and social activism in business is simply long-term thinking about energy costs and human resources. 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. We have built a solid back-end system and have relationships with hundreds of judges and funders to help identify and support the best of those businesses. And we're not looking to just pick the winners -- we want to help everyone who enters with professional feedback."

Executive summaries for the 2008-09 competition are due Friday, December 12th. On Friday, January 15th, the Foundation will announce 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 20th in Washington, DC.

For more information, please contact:

Ian Fisk The William James Foundation
Phone: 202 462 2943

For more from this organization:

Foundation for a Sustainable Future


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