The WJF Sustainable Business Plan Competition
WJF supports entrepreneurs who are building companies that will make the world a better place.
The benefits, qualifications, and entry process for our Business Plan Competition are described below. The 2014 competition has started, and no new applicants will be accepted until the fall.
Benefits of entering our competition:
- Mentor Feedback: WJF works with more than 800 mentors, many of whom are world-class experts in sustainable business. You receive professional-level peer review of your business idea and model from experts who have been down your path. Your company will receive comprehensive mentor feedback from a diverse team of 8 to 12 different mentors. Whether you’re just putting an idea to paper or you’re three years in and drawing up plans for expansion, our mentors can help.
- Mentors: Most of our mentors read your business plan and opt-in to stay connected with you, giving you the opportunity to reach out and continue to get advice, coaching or mentoring from these industry leaders.
- Methodology: We don't give you a specific business plan format because we don't want to provide feedback on your ability to fill out a form. Our mentors provide constructive commentary on your actual business ideas and plan. And we also believe the future of your business will be stronger if you have a written plan. So draft one that works for you.
- Prizes: Top names in sustainable business offer their professional services and products to our top teams. This support of WJF and you helps them give to the next generation of social impact businesses and receive promotion and access to new clients. Each year, the In-Kind Prizes are worth more than $100,000. (We also award a limited number of cash prizes.)
- Investors: Participation in our business plan competition also gives you an opportunity to be part of our Investor Fishbowl and "Green Grab" events. We love putting companies in front of accredited investors to pitch for professional debt or equity investment.
Requirements to enter our Sustainable Business Plan Competition:
- Be creating or managing a for-profit company (planned or existing) that has defined social, environmental, and/or cultural goals built into how your business makes money. If you can imagine a non-profit with the same goals as your for-profit company, you will probably qualify.
- Be a company in the planning stage or considering a significant change of direction in how your company operates. Our primary benefit is mentor feedback on your business plan. Don't enter if you're not in a position to do something with that feedback.
- Be an entrepreneur with a leadership role in the business and expect at least one person to be making (or planning to make) a full time, living-wage income from your business. You can be of any age or educational status, and you can be based anywhere in the world.
- Submit your business plan in English.
Other Selection Criteria:
WJF supports companies that are changing the way business is done. We are looking for businesses that have fully integrated their social/environmental goals into how the company works.
We are unlikely to accept companies whose sole contribution or value-add is to:
- provide better service or lower prices but not offer
- donate a percentage of revenues to charity
- offer consulting services (i.e. websites, coaching, mobile apps) to help other individuals and companies become more sustainable, even if all your clients are non-profits or socially responsible businesses.