Submitted by: Mentor Capital Network
Posted: Apr 19, 2011 – 03:42 PM EST
WASHINGTON, D.C., Apr. 19 /CSRwire/ - The William James Foundation has announced the winners of their 8th annual socially responsible business plan competition. More than $100,000 in prizes and cash were awarded at their annual gathering this past weekend at the Affinity Lab. Prizes for the top teams included cash, in-kind professional services, and connections with patient-capital investors from networks such as The Investors' Circle and Toniic.
This year's finalists included:
1st Place : Practically Green is an online service that provides consumers with the knowledge necessary to make green and healthy-living decisions in their everyday lives, while also making the process fun and easy to share with their friends and neighbors via their personal online social networks.
2nd Place : Runa produces and markets beverages made from the naturally caffeinated leaves of the Amazonian guayusa (why-you-suh) tree. Runa offers a highly attractive and differentiated line of organic and fairly traded tea and ready-to-drink beverage products to eco-friendly and health-conscious consumers.
3rd Place : Preciva has developed a low-cost, portable, wireless electronic test that will transform cervical cancer screening and treatment in both high and low income countries, generating immediate results with more accuracy and clarity than the Pap test, without the need for infrastructure and allowing clinics to see and treat disease in a single encounter.
Ian Fisk, the Foundation's Executive Director, noted that it was an especially difficult decision to rank the finalists this year, as they were all viable businesses, and they all had significant social impact, but in different areas. Dan MacCombie from Runa noted that "The WJF event and competition were a wonderful experience for us: we learned from a deeply experienced community; we got tough, encouraging, and valuable feedback from our judges, and most importantly we had a great opportunity to share our story with the world."
The top teams were selected after more than 300 reading judges review 135 business plans from 35 countries, providing mentoring and more than 3,500 pages of constructive feedback to the entrepreneurs. Each entrant received an average of 20 pages of feedback per round, so that highest- and lowest- ranked teams both received feedback, mentoring, and connections.
What all of the entrepreneurs had in common was a plan for a for-profit business that was going to be both financially and socially successful. Susan Hunt Stevens from Practically Green appreciated that "[The WJF] rewards those businesses that matter.... it especially identifies the ones making a difference, the ones that solve real-life challenges."
The William James Foundation identifies, supports, mentors, and rewards sustainable entrepreneurs. They do this by managing socially responsible business plan competitions - both their own and those of other companies and charities. By stacking 12 competitions on top of each other, they make it easier for the entrepreneurs to focus on running their business, rather than filling out forms. The winners of all twelve competitions, sponsored by such sustainable business thought-leaders as the Foundation for a Sustainable Future, The Stiefel Family Foundation, Better World Telecom, The Affinity Lab, The LOHAS Forum, Salesforce.com, and others, can be seen at www.williamjamesfoundation.org/gathering.
For more information on entering, judging, and sponsoring the William James Foundation's competitions, please contact executive director Ian Fisk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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