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Yale School of Management -
The Goldman Sachs Foundation Partnership on Nonprofit Ventures National Business Plan Competition

In 2002, the Yale School of Management, The Goldman Sachs Foundation, and The Pew Charitable Trusts joined together to form The Partnership on Nonprofit Ventures. As its signature event, The Partnership ran the National Business Plan Competition that was open to nonprofits seeking to start or expand successful profit-making ventures.

The Partnership on Nonprofit Ventures ran three business plan competitions during its four year history, and ceased operations in September 2005, after the close of its third and final business plan competition.  

The material that appears below is presented for historical purposes only. This material is taken directly from the Yale School of
Management - The Goldman Sachs Foundation Partnership on Nonprofit Ventures website (http://www.ventures.yale.edu/).

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General Description

Each Business Plan Competition took place over the course of one year, and included several Rounds of evaluation. At the end of the third round, twenty finalists attended a Conference and Awards Ceremony. At the Conference, a panel of judges watched presentations of the 20 finalists and selected four grand-prize winners, each of whom received $100,000 and four semi-finalists, each of whom received $25,000. In addition to cash awards, the winners also received hundreds of hours of business planning consultations to assist their organizations to move their ventures forward.

Each year, The Partnership enlisted more than 440 Yale School of Management alumni, McKinsey & Company consultants, Goldman Sachs professionals, and other experts in the field to evaluate the business plans on a pro bono basis.   All entrants received comprehensive feedback from their evaluators.  

During the final round of each Competition, expert consultants and MBA students provided one-on-one consulting to the 20 finalists and helped them prepare the presentations they would give at the Conference.  

First National Business Plan Competition (2002-2003)

The response to the First National Business Plan Competition was extraordinary. At the deadline in August 2002, there were 655 applications from nearly every state in the country and all types of organizations both large and small: 58 percent were running service-related businesses, 27 percent product-related businesses, and 14 percent other types. Among them, 64 percent were new businesses and 36 percent were in their early stage.

To learn more about the demographics of the 655 entrants, you can download a printable version here. (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read this document.)

Eighty organizations were selected to move forward to Round II in the Competition, and submitted Working Drafts of their Business Plans in December 2002. To read descriptions of the 80 business ventures that were selected to Round II of the Competition, you can download a printable version here. (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read this document.)

In February 2003, The Partnership announced its selection of 20 nonprofit organizations to proceed to the final round of the National Business Plan Competition for Nonprofit Organizations. The 20 finalists represented nonprofit organizations large and small, with budget sizes that ranged from less than $250,000 to more than $25 million. 13 were service-related ventures; 7 were product-related (sales/manufacturing). 11 were in the early stage of planning their ventures and 9 were operating already (but were less than 24 months old). To read descriptions of the 20 finalists selected to Round III, you can download a printable version here. (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read this document.)

The judges in the final round of the First Competition included:

  • Roger Brown , Executive Chairman of Bright Horizons Family Solutions
  • Chandy Chandrashekhar , Vice President of Goldman, Sachs & Co.
  • Catherine Clark , Director of the Research Initiative in Social Entrepreneurship and Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School
  • J. Gregory Dees , Faculty Director of the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business
  • Gary Mulhair , Managing Partner of Global Partnerships and former President and CEO of Community Wealth Ventures and Pioneer Human Services (both nonprofit enterprises)
  • Barry Nalebuff , the Milton Steinbach Professor at the Yale School of Management and a leading expert on competitive strategy
  • Lynn Taliento , Principal of McKinsey & Company and co-founder and leader of the Firm's Global Nonprofit Practice.

The four grand-prize winners of $100,000 each were:

  • CompuMentor , San Francisco, CA
    www.techsoup.org/stock

    TechSoup Stock is a unique Web-based service that distributes donated and discounted technology products, services, and support to nonprofits across the United States at the lowest possible cost to the receiving nonprofit. TechSoup Stock offers these high-demand products by working closely with leading technology companies such as Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Symantec, and Intuit to donate or steeply discount their products especially for the nonprofit sector. Earned-income is generated by charging a low but sustainable administrative fee for each item distributed.


  • El Puente Community Development , El Paso, TX
    www.mujerobrera.org/elpuente

    El Puente Community Development is dedicated to the empowerment of low-income Mexican immigrant women and their families that have been adversely affected by global restructuring. Diseños Mayapán is a garment manufacturing facility that manufactures customized medical scrubs to meet the increasing demand for affordable, attractive uniforms for the expanding health, childcare, and medically related professions in the El Paso/West Texas area. The business will also create new business and employment opportunities for low-income, NAFTA-displaced workers, and Hispanic residents in the South Central El Paso area.


  • Guthrie Theater and The Children's Theatre Company , Minneapolis, MN
    www.guthrietheater.org and www.childrenstheatre.org

    Two of the nation's leading theater companies, the Guthrie Theater and The Children's Theatre Company, have formed a unique business partnership to capture additional value from the costumes designed for individual productions. CostumeRentals, LLC will enable schools, theaters, corporations and individuals across the United States to rent costumes at reasonable prices. The combined inventory of 17,500 costumes offers a broad selection of periods and styles, designed by the country's leading theatrical costume designers. Each theater specializes in costumes reflective of their artistic missions. A producer of classical and contemporary theater, the Guthrie specializes in historically based costumes. In staging theater for young audiences, Children's Theatre is known for creating fairy-tale and fantasy costumes for the creatures and characters that inhabit the world of children's literature.


  • Rochester Rehabilitation Center , Rochester, NY
    www.rochesterrehab.org

    Parrett Paper, an earned income venture of Rochester Rehabilitation Center, manufactures, markets, packages, and distributes unique die-cut greeting cards, gift tags and holiday cards. Parrett Paper markets its product line to a national and international customer base, including gift shops, zoos, aquariums, and museums. The company also provides meaningful work experiences for people with disabilities who are clients of its rehabilitation center.

The four runners-up and winners of $25,000 each were:

  • Benetech Initiative , Palo Alto, CA
    www.benetech.org

    Because current publishers make fewer than 5% of books available in accessible formats such as Braille and audiotape, Benetech has developed a subscription service, Bookshare.org, allowing users to legally share scanned books through a subscription service that meets stringent copyright exemption. Bookshare.org provides an extensive online library of accessible digital books to U.S. residents with severe visual, reading, and mobility disabilities. By enabling the tens of thousands of individuals who regularly scan books to share these materials, Bookshare.org eliminates significant duplication of effort and produces accessible books more quickly than other providers, and at a fraction of their per book cost.


  • Benhaven, Inc. , North Haven, CT

    Benhaven is a nonprofit agency that has been providing services to children, adolescents, and adults with autism for 35 years. To support school system personnel in developing their capabilities to serve students with autism effectively, Benhaven has established a consulting practice called Benhaven's Learning Network. The practice focuses on providing consultation and technical assistance to public school special education programs throughout Connecticut, bringing clarity of instructional techniques to those charged with educating autistic children.


  • Nation's Capital Child and Family Development , Washington, DC
    www.nccfd.org
  • Nation's Capital Child and Family Development has been running a food service operation for over 30 years to serve its 25 sites in the District of Columbia. The Harmon Central Kitchen is a commercial kitchen owned and operated by Nation's Capital Child and Family Development to prepare these meals. To leverage unused kitchen capacity into revenue gains for the organization, Nation's Capital Child and Family Development has created Make A Difference Catering to provide food services to licensed child care providers and elder care programs, as well as special events catering, and the provision of technical assistance support to nonprofits.


  • Scojo Foundation , Brooklyn, NY
    www.scojo.com
  • Today in India, more than 200 million people need reading glasses to see up-close-to read a ledger, to thread a needle, to mend a shoe, or to fix a radio. Yet last year, only 0.2% of the eligible population purchased reading glasses. Lack of access and issues of cost are the underlying reasons for this disparity. Scojo Foundation will sell quality near-vision ("reading") glasses, starting in the urban markets of southern India and expanding into rural areas.


Second National Business Plan Competition (2003-2004)

The response to the Second National Business Plan Competition for Nonprofit Organizations was equally extraordinary. 551 nonprofit organizations from 47 U.S. states and territories registered to enter the Second National Business Plan Competition for Nonprofit Organizations to compete for $500,000 in cash prizes and consulting services.

At the deadline on August 1, 2003, 445 officially submitted Executive Summaries for evaluation: 53 percent were running service-related businesses, 29 percent product-related businesses, and 18 percent other types. Among them, 65 percent were new businesses and 35 percent were in their early stage. 15 percent were returning entrants who participated in the First National Business Plan Competition.

To learn more about the demographics of the 445 official entrants, you can download a printable version here . (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read this document.)

In the first two rounds, three outside evaluators with expertise specific to the business venture reviewed entrants' materials. The evaluators assessed each submission on the business concept, market and competition; its competitive positioning and financial viability; the organizational capacity of the nonprofit and fit between the business venture and the parent nonprofit; and the overall presentation of the business model.

To learn more about the 80 business ventures that were selected to Round II of the Competition sorted by the alphabetical name of the parent nonprofit organization , you can download a printable version here . (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read this document.)

For demographic information on the 80 business ventures that were selected to Round II of the Competition sorted by state , you can download a printable version here . (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read this document.)

In February 2004, The Partnership on Nonprofit Ventures announced its selection of 20 nonprofit organizations to proceed to the final round of the National Business Plan Competition for Nonprofit Organizations.

The 20 finalists represent nonprofit organizations large and small, with budget sizes that range from less than $500, 000 to more than $25,000,000. 11 were service-related ventures; 8 were product-related (sales/manufacturing); and 1 was a cause-related marketing enterprise. 11 were planning their ventures and were not yet operational and 9 were operating already (but were less than 24 months old). 5 were entrants that participated in the First National Business Plan Competition.

To read descriptions of the 20 finalists selected to Round III, you can download a printable version here . (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read this document.)

For demographic information on the 20 business ventures that were selected to Round III of the Competition, sorted by the alphabetical name of the parent nonprofit organization you can download a printable version here . (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read this document.)

The Judges in the Second Business Plan Competition included:

  • Rick Antle , Senior Associate Dean of the Yale School of Management and the William S. Beinecke Professor of Accounting
  • Rick Aubry , President and Executive Director, Rubicon Programs Incorporated
  • Richard Fishman , Senior Managing Partner, MAF Capital Partners
  • Wendee Kanarek , founding partner and Managing Director of Women's Growth Capital Fund, and a co-founder of WomenAngels.net
  • Roderick von Lipsey , Private Wealth Management, Goldman Sachs & Co.
  • Will Rosenzweig , Executive Director of the Socially Responsible Business Leadership Initiative at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley
  • Lynn Taliento , Principal in McKinsey & Company's Nonprofit Practice


The four grand-prize winners of $100,000 each were:

  • Coastal Enterprises, Inc.
    Portland, Maine
    www.ceicommunityventures.com

    For more than three decades, venture capital has served as a catalyst for economic development in traditional urban markets. Licensed and co-funded through SBA's New Markets Venture Capital program, CEI Community Ventures' $10 million fund drives capital and operational assistance (OA) grant resources into targeted underserved and distressed communities in Northern New England that have not traditionally benefited from venture capital. The equity fund is coupled with an OA grant pool that funds services (i.e., business planning, market research, intellectual property research, etc ) both prior to and following equity finance. Like the equity program, the OA grant program accesses its matching capital from private sources.


  • DARTS (Dakota Area Resources & Transportation for Seniors)
    West St. Paul, Minnesota
    www.darts1.org

    Established in 1974, DARTS is a nonprofit agency that provides specialized transportation for seniors and persons with disabilities. The DARTS Vehicle Maintenance Service offers vehicle repair and preventive maintenance services for Twin Cities (St. Paul and Minneapolis) area agencies that operate their own vehicles for transporting clients to and from their agencies, and are looking to reduce vehicle downtime, improve safety, and increase vehicle reliability of their growing fleets.


  • Rescue Mission
    Liverpool, New York
    www.rmsyr.org

    The Rescue Mission is leveraging its proven track record in nonprofit enterprise and strong customer base to launch a $1 Shopper in its Thrifty Shopper stores in New York state. The $1 Shopper sells household necessities including kitchen items, cleaning supplies, disposable products, baby-care items, hardware, socks, gloves, and seasonal crafts for one dollar. Revenue from the $1 Shopper will be used by the Rescue Mission to decrease dependence on government funding and establish more sustainable and diversified revenue streams to pay for superior life-changing services for the homeless of Central New York.


  • VolunteerMatch
    San Francisco, California
    http://www.volunteermatch.org/about/

    VolunteerMatch Corporate is a web-based service designed to manage, maximize, and measure employee volunteer programs. Created to meet the needs of leading corporations that recognize the business and social value of community involvement, VolunteerMatch Corporate helps fulfill business goals for community outreach; assists employees in searching and signing up for local volunteer opportunities; and measures volunteer participation from one centralized location.


The four runners-up and winners of $25,000 each were:

  • I Do Foundation
    Washington, DC
    www.idofoundation.org

    I Do Foundation's Charitable Wedding Services business offers major retailers a wedding gift registry program that attracts new bridal customers and increased revenue for them, and, at the same time, generates a percentage of wedding sales for designated charities. CWS provides retailers with a streamlined package that includes program setup, technical systems integration, customer support, associate support and training materials, and donation management and disbursement.


  • La Casa de Don Pedro
    Newark, New Jersey
    www.lacasanwk.org

    La Casa de Don Pedro's food preparation business, La Olla de La Casa de Don Pedro , will prepare and sell nutritious meals to pre-kindergarten programs, after-school centers, and other organizations that supply free and reduced cost meals in the Newark, New Jersey area. The business will also create job training and employment for a targeted segment of the population that La Casa serves.


  • Urban Homesteading Assistance Board
    New York, New York
    www.uhab.org
  • The Urban Homesteading Assistance Board offers a variety of services to help the co-op housing community in low-income neighborhoods in New York City. Its new business venture, UHAB Mutual , will market low-cost property and liability insurance to these housing cooperatives, and reinvest profits in the co-ops and in other UHAB programs. The company will be owned by and operated for the benefit of its policyholders.


  • Work Resource Center
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    www.workresourcecenter.org
  • Building Value LLC is a building material reuse center that salvages quality materials from deconstruction, demolition and renovation projects, as well as retailer and distributor overstock for resale in a 20,000 square foot retail store. Building Value employs people with disabilities and disadvantages--the clients of its parent nonprofit, Work Resource Center--and teaches them marketable skills. The business helps to reduce the mounting waste stream, and also generates unrestricted revenue for its parent organization.


Winning Business Plans from the National Business Plan Competition of the Yale School of Management -
The Goldman Sachs Foundation Partnership on Nonprofit Ventures

  • To learn more about business planning for nonprofit enterprise, you may download business plans from a selection of the 2002-2003 award recipients and finalists from the First National Business Plan Competition for Nonprofit Organizations. These business plans represent real businesses, and serve as examples of well-written plans that demonstrate the rigorous due diligence required in planning for a new business and securing the intellectual and financial capital to help ensure its success. To read the plans, click here.

Third National Business Plan Competition (2004-2005)

In its third and final Business Plan Competition, The Partnership on Nonprofit Ventures received 464 applications from nearly every state in the country and all types of organizations both large and small: 46 percent were running service-related businesses, 25 percent product-related businesses, 18 percent were running some combination of the two, and 11 percent were operating some other type of business. Among them, 64 percent were in the planning stage of development and 36 percent were in the early stage of operations.

To learn more about the demographics of the 464 official entrants, you can download a printable version here . (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read this document.)

In the first two rounds, three outside evaluators with expertise specific to the business venture reviewed entrants' materials. The evaluators assessed each submission on the business concept, market and competition; its competitive positioning and financial viability; the organizational capacity of the nonprofit and fit between the business venture and the parent nonprofit; and the overall presentation of the business model.

To learn more about the 90 business ventures that were selected to Round II of the Competition sorted by the alphabetical name of the parent nonprofit organization , you can download a printable version here . (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read this document.)

For demographic information on the 90 business ventures that were selected to Round II of the Competition sorted by state , you can download a printable version here . (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read this document.)

On February 28, 2005, The Partnership on Nonprofit Ventures announced its selection of 20 nonprofit organizations to proceed to the final round of the Third National Business Plan Competition for Nonprofit Organizations.

The 20 finalists represented nonprofit organizations large and small, with budget sizes that ranged from less than $500, 000 to more than $25,000,000. 30 percent were service-related ventures; 40 percent were product-related (sales/manufacturing); and 30 percent were some combination of the above. 45 percent were planning their ventures and were not yet operational and 55 percent were operating already (but were less than 24 months old). Five were entrants that participated in the First or Second National Business Plan Competition.

To read descriptions of the 20 finalists selected to Round III, you can download a printable version here . (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read this document.)

For demographic information on the 20 business ventures that were selected to Round III of the Competition, sorted by the alphabetical name of the parent nonprofit organization, you can download a printable version here . (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read this document.)

To see the demographic trends of entrants that advanced to Round III of the First, Second, and Third National Business Plan Competitions, you can download a printable version here . (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read this document.)

For a PDF file of the alphabetical list of the 20 Finalists, click here . (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read this document.)

The Judges in the Third National Business Plan Competition included:

  • Cheryl Dorsey , President, Echoing Green
  • Sam Forman , Senior Vice President and Medical Director, American Healthways, Inc.
  • Rahul Mewawalla , Monitor Ventures
  • Douglas Rae , Professor of Organization and Management and Political Science, Yale School of Management
  • Lynn Taliento , Principal in McKinsey & Company's Nonprofit Practice
  • Roderick von Lipsey , Private Wealth Management, Goldman Sachs & Co.
  • Sheila Wellington , Clinical Professor of Management and Organizations at New York University's Stern School of Business


The four grand-prize winners of $100,000 each were:

  • EcoLogic Finance
    Cambridge, Massachusetts
    http://www.ecologicfinance.org

    Ecologic Finance is a nonprofit development finance institution that provides affordable credit, including pre-shipment trade credit and capital goods financing, to community-based enterprises located in environmentally sensitive areas. EcoLogic Finance markets these products throughout Latin America, and plans to expand to locations in Africa.


  • First Book
    Washington, DC
    http://www.FBMarketplace.org

    First Book Marketplace is a web-based venture that sells low cost, high quality new children's books to organizations serving disadvantaged children. Through special "Marketplace Edition" print runs and other enterprising purchase arrangements, First Book Marketplace acquires large quantities of books at deep discounts from its publishing partners, and sells them to its target market at prices well below any other options available to this market. In its first 6 months of operation, over $300,000 in sales were generated with no marketing expenditure incurred.


  • NPower NY
    New York, New York
    http://www.npowerny.org

    NPOWER BASIC combines a successful workforce development program for urban young adults with a sophisticated technology service that meets the basic needs of small nonprofits. Staffed in part with graduates from NPower's NY's Technology Service Corps, the service offers a network and pre-configured desktops and provides installation, remote monitoring, a help desk and emergency support.

  • MissionFish (Points of Light Foundation)
    Washington, DC
    http://www.missionfish.org

    MissionFish, a service of the Points of Light Foundation, helps nonprofits raise money through sales on eBay. The business offers eBay sellers the opportunity to donate a portion of their proceeds to nonprofit organizations, and thereby turn online trading into a new revenue stream for good causes.

The four runners-up and winners of $25,000 each were:

  • Caroline Center
    Baltimore, Maryland
    http://www.caroline-center.org

    Caroline Center provides job training in various disciplines to low-income women in Baltimore, and operates Caroline Center Upholstery - a custom retail upholstery shop serving both residential and commercial customers in the Baltimore region.


  • Ecotrust
    Portland, Oregon
    http://www.ecotrust.org

    Ecotrust Forests, LLC is an Oregon limited liability company that will capitalize a $12 million fund to acquire and manage forestlands in the western U.S. and Canada, with a focus on building forest health and long-term value. The Fund expects to profit largely from the sale of timber, and also from conservation easements, recreation leases, appreciated value due to tree growth, and, where appropriate and consistent with mission, limited sale of real estate parcels for residential, commercial and recreational use.


  • The Housing Partnership Network
    Boston, Massachusetts
    http://www.housingpartnership.net
  • The Housing Partnership Network has created a captive insurance company for its member organizations in response to unstable coverage and rising costs of insurance. Housing Partnership Insurance, Inc. markets cost-effective property and liability insurance to its network of regional nonprofit housing developers, who collectively represent a portfolio of more than 34,000 affordable apartments nationwide.


  • Wai'anae Community Re-Development Corporation
    Wai'anae, HI
    http://www.waianaeorganic.com
  • The MA`O Youth Organic Farm is an organic farming venture managed by youth from the Wai`anae community in Hawaii. Their goal is to make affordable and healthy fruits and vegetables available to residents of their low-income community. Growing a diversity of field crops (e.g., salad greens, herbs, eggplant) and fruit trees (e.g., mango, limes), MA'O is poised to become the largest producer of USDA certified organic fruits and vegetables on the island of O'ahu.


Winning Business Plans from the National Business Plan Competition of the Yale School of Management -
The Goldman Sachs Foundation Partnership on Nonprofit Ventures

  • To learn more about business planning for nonprofit enterprise, you may download business plans from a selection of award recipients and finalists from the First, Second, and Third National Business Plan Competition for Nonprofit Organizations. These business plans represent real businesses, and serve as examples of well-written plans that demonstrate the rigorous due diligence required in planning for a new business and securing the intellectual and financial capital to help ensure its success. To read the plans, click here.

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