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ECOnomics: The Environmental Business Plan Challenge
Joel Makower, 16 Oct 05

GE, which launched its "ecomagination" initiative with great fanfare in May, is teaming with Dow Jones in a search for "environmentally conscious entrepreneurs with big ideas for eco-businesses." The prize is worth $50,000.

The newly announced competition, called "ECOnomics: The Environmental Business Plan Challenge," is open to entrepreneurs, executives, students -- "anyone with a great idea for an eco-venture with profit potential," say the organizers.

Winning business plans must clearly demonstrate 1) an innovative business idea that benefits the environment, 2) a clear path to profitability, and 3) a persuasive and logical presentation. The contest is open to residents of the 50 United States and District of Columbia, 21 years or older.

To enter, participants must submit business plan idea through the contest Web site by December 15, 2005. Plans will be assessed by a distinguished panel of judges, including Karen Elliott House of Dow Jones and GE Vice chairman David L. Calhoun. Four finalists and a winner will be announced in the spring.

The submissions will be narrowed down to four finalists, each of which will be featured in high-profile advertising to run on MarketWatch.com and in Barron's, SmartMoney, and The Wall Street Journal (both print and online).

The grand prize contest winner will receive a check for fifty grand and will be honored at "a public media event," as well as profiled in the above-named media.

Details including complete judging criteria, official rules, and eligibility requirements are available online. And, because it's an environmental competition, only online (read: paperless) applications will be accepted.

And while we're on the subject, executive summaries are due November 16, 2005, for the Global Social Venture Competition sponsored by U.C. Berkeley's Haas Business School in partnership with Columbia Business School and London Business School. The student-led business plan competition, of which I have been honored to have been a judge in past years, offers a grand prize of $25,000 to the plan "that achieves the best blended value (high economic and social returns)."

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