Social Venture Competitions
Mash, from the Zoo Station stable, writes about the Global SOcial Venture Competition.
The 2004-05 edition of the Global Social Venture Competition, a business plan competition for new business ventures that address social or environmental change had its final round at Berkeley yesterday. This competition is co-hosted annually by the London School of Business, Berkeley and Columbia University. The first prize winner, was a team titled 'A World of Good', a venture that plans to sell handicrafts manufactured by artisans from all over the world at fair trade prices. Interestingly as one of the judges mentioned during the prize distribution ceremony, this venture employs a proven business model. Although related or similar models and oganizations exist at micro and macro levels in several parts of the world, this team's successful operational performance over the past year was the key factor that separated it from the other contestants.
Interestingly, at my previous company Deeshaa Ventures we looked at a similar model called ABC. And yesterday as I was browsing the career pages in Adelaide, I found that Oxfam was looking for a CEO for their handicrafts division managing a similar business.
Mash has some interesting observations on the strategy adopted.
Professor Emeritus James G.March, famous for co-authoring many works in organizational theory - most notably with Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon, has written about firms indulging in Exploration (seeking out new markets, strategies or technologies) and Exploitation (exploiting existing technologies or strategies). It is indeed interesting to note that some contemporary business plan competitions do seem to favor 'Exploitation' strategies that showcase executional efficiency as opposed to uncertain but potentially high-impact 'Exploration' ventures.