A team from UC Berkeley and Stanford won the most competitive Global Social Venture Competition ever on April 8 at the Haas School with a mobile platform that helps community members, particularly women, in Indian cities avoid wasting hours waiting for water to arrive by truck or communal tap.
The team, called NextDrop, beat out approximately 850 entries in the competition worldwide – a record number — and 15 global finalists to win the $25,000 top prize. Besides an innovative use of technology, the team exhibited true determination to launch their business: It competed in GSVC last year, took some critical feedback to heart, and continued to evolve and develop its field pilots before competing again–and taking first place–this year.
The NextDrop team includes UC Berkeley graduate students from the School of Information, College of Engineering, and Goldman School of Public Policy; an MBA student from Stanford; and a graduate from Mangalore University in India.
Close behind them in second place was Sanergy (MIT Sloan School of Management), who also took the Social Impact Assessment prize, and in third place TreePlanet (Handong University, South Korea).
Sanergy, which won $10,000, has developed a robust model to improve sanitation facilities and services in the slums of Kenya, providing enormous health benefits to users and producing both electricity and fertilizer from waste. TreePlanet, which won $5,000, has developed a mobile game that encourages users to care for a virtual tree and rewards “winners” by planting real trees in deforested regions in Indonesia. The app holds the potential to leverage the millions who play video games in developed countries to promote reforestation and other good causes effortlessly.
The competition is organized by Berkeley MBA students and hosted by the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship at Berkeley-Haas. It was founded as the Haas Social Venture Competition in 1999 by five Berkeley MBA students to help create and support viable new businesses and nonprofit organizations whose goals include measurable positive impact on society or on the environment – commonly known as the triple bottom line.
Since then, it has grown into a global competition in which nine other schools from around the world are partners with Haas, hosting their own regional competitions and events that feed into the global competition in Berkeley. This year teams from a whopping 252 universities in 31 countries participated in the competition. More than 3,000 teams have participated in the competition since its founding.
In addition to winning prizes, teams gain valuable feedback from leaders in the social enterprise field who serve as judges, connections with a range of investors, and a network of like-minded entrepreneurs. Approximately 350 mentors around the globe help competing teams.
For more information about the competition, visit gsvc.org.