Social Venture Winner Builds Bricks from Cow Dung

Making high-quality bricks from abundantly available cow dung – instead of depleting scarce firewood and clay – earned EcoFaeBrick from Prasetiya Mulya Business School in Indonesia the $25,000 top prize at the tenth annual Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) at the Haas School this weekend.

EcoFaeBrick not only reduces home building costs for rural Indonesians in the rapidly developing region of Godean and Sayegan, it also solves a major hygiene problem and promises attractive returns to its investors.

GSVC is an international MBA competition founded by five Berkeley MBA students in 1999 to promote the creation of social ventures with a measurable impact on society or the environment. Over the past ten years, the competition has grown into a thriving global initiative.

The $10,000 second prize went to the mPedigree Logistics team from Dartmouth University's Tuck School of Business. mPedigree Logistics provides pharmaceutical companies with solutions to the growing global counterfeit drug market via mobile marketing and supply chain technologies. Up to 30 percent of drugs sold in developing nations are fakes, containing little to no active ingredients or laced with malicious chemicals, according to the World Health Organization.

SolarCycle from the George Washington University School of Business won the competition's $5,000 third prize. SolarCycle allows low-income, urban Africans to apply the reflective, solar-concentrating characteristics of trash, such as used plastic bags and the inside of metalized chip bags, to solar-powered cooking and water pasteurization.

BrightMind Labs won the $5,000 Social Impact Assessment prize, which was awarded to the team that best demonstrated social impact or value creation in financial terms. BrightMind Labs, from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, uses electronic games to teach children on the autistic spectrum to recognize and respond to emotions.

Today, GSVC's partnership includes the Haas School of Business, Columbia Business School, London Business School, Indian School of Business, and Thammasat University (Thailand). It is supported by outreach partners from the University of Geneva (Switzerland), ESSEC Business School (France), ALTIS–Postgraduate School Business and Society at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano (Italy), Yale School of Management, and a consortium of business schools in South Korea.