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Major Sponsors


Halloran Philanthropies

Josh Mailman

Chuck Dell

Tecovas Foundation


Sponsors


The Acacia Fund

Ader B. Gandi Charitable Fund

Affinity Lab

LOHAS Forum

Foundation for a Sustainable FutureCSRwire

 

Strategic Sustainability Consulting

WorldWays Social Marketing

CitySoft Logo

 

Mentor Guidance

We identify for-profit entrepreneurs who are making the world a better place and connect them to industry experts and impact investors to enhance the likelihood that those ideas scale into sustainable ventures.

One of our main tools for this is our Sustainable Business Plan Competition. The competition has three goals:

  • Expertly match mentor capital of our mentors with the most promising new sustainable businesses ideas.
  • Provide constructive feedback to all entrants so that they might better achieve their goals.
  • Identify business plans that are good candidates to establish a successful business that will be a leader in its industry in incorporating positive social and/or environmental change into a viable financial model.

Being a Mentor

  • If you would like to be a part of our mentor team, please fill out this form.
     
  • The 2014 Competition has one remaining business plan mentor period: 

    May 12th - June 9th, 2014: Business Plans and Financials Review. We ask mentors to review and provide constructive feeback on 2 plans during this time. We expect this to take each mentor five to six hours. 

Mentor Guidance

A. You are reviewing the plan, and mentoring the business. Score the plan based on the quality of the document itself and your perception of the entrepreneur’s ability to succeed with the plan as written. If you love the idea, but not the implementation plan, score the plan accordingly and then join up with the team as an advisor, mentor, client, customer, or connector to help them take the next steps. If you think the current plan doesn’t work as written, provide feedback to help the entrepreneur develop a plan that does.

B. All companies are for-profit and have a social and/or environmental business goal integrated into how they do business.  In a few cases, if you can imagine a non-profit with the same goals, it counts. 

C. We support entrepreneurs who are spreading their sustainable business models by either scaling (their company grows) or sharing (their company actively and openly serves as a model for others) or both. As long as the company exists and is stable enough to serve as an example, please judge the company against their own goals. 

D. Write your comments directly to the business. We will forward your feedback directly to the business with minimal editing.

E. Be specific & constructive. Comments that past entrants have found useful are at:  www.williamjamesfoundation.org/samplecomments.

F. Write as much as you like. Your feedback is the main "prize" of our competition.

G. Write from the perspective of your personal experience, expertise and skills. You were chosen to mentor this business because of your specific background (finance, marketing, legal issues, the region, etc.). All plans will be read by a team of mentors, each bringing their own unique perspective.

H. Please email any questions to competition@williamjamesfoundation.org. If you wish to contact the business principal for a point of clarification, please do so by email and copy us so that we can share the clarification with the other mentors.

I. Please return your comments and scores via our online form. A link to our online scorecard will be provided to you when we send you the business plans to mentor. We will also provide you with a Microsoft Word working copy of the scorecard to help you capture and edit your feedback. However, we strongly ask you to submit your feedback via the online form.

J. Please use the following scoring criteria:

  • Poor: If this area is not addressed, the business will probably not succeed.
  • Adequate: While this area is a weakness, it won’t disrupt the entire business.
  • Fair: This area will neither hurt the business nor will it provide a competitive advantage.
  • Good: This is the level you would want to see in a business before going to work there yourself.
  • Outstanding: They got this area spot-on, or they have a new and interesting approach to this challenge.
  • No Score Provided: If you do not feel qualified to score a particular section, check this box. This will not affect their score. You should still include constructive text if you can. This option is not available for all categories.

K. Take a look at exemplary feedback (as judged by past business entrants) by business plan section: