A Columbia Business School venture focusing on urban regeneration was among four teams taking top honors in the 2004 Global Social Venture Competition. The final judging event took place in London, where the winning teams were selected from 129 entries submitted from countries around the globe, including Canada, Costa Rica, Colombia, Finland, France, India, Kenya, the Netherlands, Peru, and Singapore. Winning teams received cash and travel prizes totaling $100,000.

Unique among business plan competitions, the Global Social Venture Competition gives equal weight to financial profitability and social return on investment. Now in its fifth year, the Global Social Venture Competition has grown, with the support of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, to be a truly global partnership between Columbia Business School, the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, and London Business School.

Competing ventures addressed a range of global concerns including educational, agricultural, environmental, and energy issues. The 2004 winners and the business schools they represent are:

BEST BLENDED VALUE ($25,000 Prize): IAM, LLC — Columbia Business School and the New School University. The company aims to improve the economic and environmental quality of underserved urban neighborhoods through innovative real estate development focused on urban brownfields.

MEDIUM GROWTH ($25,000 Prize): Schools for Community Empowerment (SCE) — Stanford University and UC Berkeley. This team of educators has developed a model of urban renewal and empowerment that could revitalize neighborhoods, communities, and cities across the country by linking youth education and community development.

HIGH GROWTH ($25,000 Prize): Eco-Friendly Agricultural Products (EFAP) — Rotterdam School of Management. This venture will manufacture and sell, primarily to farmers in arid regions, organic fertilizers with high water-retention properties.

SOCIAL RETURN ON INVESTMENT ($5,000 Prize): Distributed Generation Technologies — Cornell University. This team will promote renewable energy production and local energy efficiency through multi-fuel technologies.