For the second year, UCLA’s Economic Department partnered with Academies for Social Entrepreneurship to host this UCLA Social Enterprise Academy, featuring the talents of UCLA’s students, faculty and alumni. Ten local not-for-profit organizations and forty undergraduate UCLA students participated in the Academy. After rigorous training and business plan development, each organization “pitched” the key elements of their business plan to a panel of judges who rated each proposal on eight criteria: significant social impact, large and/or growing market, unique and innovative product or service, a profitable business model, competitive advantage, strong founding team, viable sustainability strategy and overall presentation.
Out of the ten participating organizations in the UCLA Social Enterprise Venture Competition, three came away with cash prizes. The first place winner, reDiscover Center, was awarded $15,000; second place winner, Santa Monica YWCA , won $10,000; and third place winner, Disability Rights Law Center, won $5000. Santa Monica YWCA also won the audience favorite award, an additional $1000.
A brief summary of each of the winning organizations and their social enterprise venture is included below:
“This was by far the most enriching course of my undergraduate education. The experience was practical and as close to real life as you can get. Through this course, I have gained tools for success that will prove helpful as I embark on my career. Thank you for the awesome experience.” (Student)
“Without the guidance and support we received as participants, we would never have been able to design a viable social enterprise for the high school girls we serve. In addition, access to experts in the field - class lecturers and competition judges - was invaluable and allowed us to refine our model and strategy. Finally, working with such a fine group of eager and smart students gave us the confidence and freedom to let them take a significant lead on creating the enterprise.” (Executive Director)
reDiscover Center | http://www.rediscovercenter.org reDiscover promotes resource conservation, creativity, and community engagement through material reuse. reDiscover is a community art center, reuse warehouse, gallery and event space. Proposed Venture: Upcycle Studio events and “Crafty Kits”
YWCA of Santa Monica/Westside | http://www.smywca.org The Mission of the YWCA Santa Monica/Westside is to empower women and girls by creating opportunities for growth and leadership. Proposed Venture: Girl (Em)powered – a 12 week business incubator for High School girls
Disability Rights Legal Center | www.disabilityrightslegalcenter.org The Mission of the Disability Rights Legal Center (DRLC) is to champion the rights of people with disabilities through education, advocacy and litigation. Proposed Venture: Disability Law Webinars and Consulting
A variety of not-for-profit organizations participated in the program, demonstrating that social enterprise is possible in a variety of settings. Other participants were:
Concerned Capital | www.concernedcapital.info Concerned Capital (CC) helps closely held, entrepreneurial-driven companies located in economically distressed communities, incorporate social responsibility as part of their mission. Proposed Venture: Valuation Service for small businesses
Environmental Charter Schools | http://echsonline.org Equip all students with the knowledge and skills to graduate from college, discover their own sense of purpose, and to be stewards of their community and world. Proposed Venture: Consulting, Workshops and Student led tours to teach others about their unique curriculum
iHOPEoc, Inc. | www.ihopeoc.org iHOPE's mission is to provide basic services to the homeless, at-risk, underserved, and working poor in south Orange County. Proposed Venture: Private label “Get A Grip” products, starting with surf wax
Jubilee Consortium | http://jubileeconsortium.org The Jubilee Consortium’s mission is to support the creation of healthy and just neighborhoods by providing safe, culturally sensitive, affordable programs for healthier living and leadership development. Proposed Venture: A.C.T. (Actions to Change Tomorrow) – Service Immersion program for high school students
LA CAUSA Youth Build | http://lacausainc.org LA CAUSA engages historically disenfranchised young people and their families from East Los Angeles to take action against the injustices that impact low-income communities of color. Proposed Venture: Ela’s Roots Leadership Program– for at-risk youth
Public Interest Pictures | http://www.pipdocs.org Public Interest Pictures (PIP) is a non-profit film company with a nonpartisan mission to educate citizens on issues important to our democracy. Proposed Venture: 48-hour Film Festival to create promotional videos for not-for-profit organizations
Youth Speak Collective | http://youthspeakcollective.org Youth Speak Collective is a youth-driven organization founded on the idea that all young people can succeed if provided with the right opportunities. Proposed Venture: Media Solutions Center – youth provide video/photo services for area businesses
We would like to extend a huge congratulation to the winners of the UCLA Venture Competition and Showcase! The UCLA Social Enterprise Academy is a unique and successful program because of the hard work that goes into it by all of those participating.