Federal Chief Innovation Officer and Alumna to Address Social Venture Competition, April 8

Maura O’Neill, chief innovation officer at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and a 2004 graduate of the Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA Program, will give the keynote address at the Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) awards dinner on April 8 at the International House in Berkeley.

O’Neill, a four-time entrepreneur in the energy, education, and high-tech fields and a lecturer in entrepreneurship at Haas, will discuss the critical role of social ventures. Prior to her role at US AID, O’Neill served as a chief of staff and senior adviser in the U.S. Department of Agriculture as well as chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell from Washington. In addition to her MBA degrees from Haas and Columbia business schools, she holds a BA and a PhD from the University of Washington.

The awards banquet caps two days of presentations by 15 finalist teams competing in the 12th annual GSVC. Finalist teams were culled from an initial 850 entries and represent nine countries, including Bangladesh, France, South Africa, Thailand, and the U.S. Their ideas include affordable cancer detection devices, micro-lending to foster higher education in India, tree-planting by smart phone, and a fish farm franchise that supports entrepreneurship in rural villages.

Finalists in the Social Impact Assessment track compete on Thursday, April 7, and GSVC finalist teams will pitch their social ventures and engage in Q&A with the panel of expert judges on Friday, April 8. Both pitch sessions are free and open to the public, providing an opportunity for investors, entrepreneurs, students, and the broader social venture community to hear the latest innovations in the social venture space and meet the teams in person.

The competition will be followed by the Ideas to Impact Conference April 9.

For more information and the full schedule for GSVC final events, go to entrepreneurship.berkeley.edu/business_competitions/gsvc.html.