The UCLA Social Enterprise Academy is a six month program which supports nonprofit organizations in launching social enterprises while engaging students in "applied economics". The business development process is structured around an eight-session workshop series on subjects like “Financials Matter,” “Effective Sales and Marketing” and “Business Planning – The Big Picture.”
On Friday, June 3rd, the fifth annual UCLA Social Enterprise Venture Competition & Showcase took place. Nine teams representing local community organizations pitched their business ventures for $35,000 in cash awards. First place winner LA Conservation Corp took home $16,000. $10,000 went to Pure Game and $5,000 to 3rd place finalist PS I Love You. The audience favorite award of $4,000 went to Oceans Global.
Beverly Schwartz of Ashoka delivered a fascinating talk on what makes social entrepreneurs successful. Schwartz lead Ashoka's Global Marketing team to pioneer awareness around the idea of social entrepreneurship and establish Ashoka as its leader in the field. She is also author of “RIPPLING- How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Throughout the World” which outlines principles for driving significant change throughout an entire system.
The Southern California Social Entrepreneurship Venture Challenge focused on linking the most promising entrepreneurs with the leading social venture philanthropists in Southern California. The contestants were for-profit, not-for-profit and hybrid with domestic or international operations. Forty experts selected the finalists according to the the following six criteria: The enterprise directly addresses a clear social problem; the enterprise influences systems, not just symptoms of the problem; the leadership team demonstrates tenacity and relevant experience; The enterprise will generate significant social and financial returns; the venture prioritizes social impact over financial gain for its owners; the enterprise has demonstrated traction evidenced by sales or investment.
The program culminated on May 6th with the Impact Investing Showcase & Symposium. A big congratulations to the three winners,codeSpark, (Pasadena) $12,000;Takachar, (Cambridge, MA) $10,000;Desolinator, (London, UK) $8,000.
We were further inspired by presentations from Adlai Wertman, Professor and Founding Director of the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab at USC Marshall School of Business, and Marco Vangelisti, Founder, Essential Knowledge for Transition, about how to align our investments with our values.
Academies for Social Entrepreneurship creates an eco-system of support that nurtures entrepreneurship and innovation in nonprofit organizations. Our "ASE In-the-News" section shares our on-going work and upcoming events.