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2014 Sustainable Business Plan Competition: Prizes

The primary "Prize" of our business plan competition is the Mentor Capital -- the feedback, expertise and connections offered by the customized team of mentors that we create and introduce to each company via the two rounds of the competition. 

While that is true, that isn't the only prize.

  • At the Annual Gathering July 24-26, we will award $10,000 in cash prizes split between the top six Finalists.

  • In partnership with the Foundation for Sustainable Future we will award $3,500 in cash prizes to three teams in our cohort that show the most promise to provide our world with an environmentally sustainable future. These awards will be in the name of Richard Heinberg. a senior fellow at the Post Carbon Institute, for his work on making the world aware of the importance of environmental sustainability. 

  • Many of our Mentor partners and friends offering their professional services as In-Kind prizes to our top teams. These prizes are available to both our Finalists and our Honorable Mention teams. Teams pick from from the list in and can select the prize of most value to them.

Information Technology and Design

Provoc Provoc (www.provoc.me) is a dynamic team of experienced graphic designers, web developers, traditional artists, and spirited minds that challenges clients to compel their audience with provocative communication strategies, user experiences, and graphic/interactive design. They have donated an info-graphic illustration as the prize. The winner should have a set of information or a process they would like to be shown graphically, such as a business model. Value is $4,000.
Community IT Innovators

Community IT Innovators (http://www.communityit.com/) serves non-profits, associations and socially responsible businesses. They combine technology expertise with unsurpassed service to more than 900 organizations, both locally and nationally, since 1993. CITI offers clients support for their network infrastructure and technology planning needs. Community IT is donating 8 hours of either general IT advisory services, or guidance and advisory services around setting up technology for a start-up. This could be on the infrastructure or application side. This could be local (Washington, DC) or virtual (worldwide). This prize is worth $1,200.



eighty2degrees (http://www.eighty2degrees.com/)  focuses on finding innovative solutions to communication and marketing challenges to give our clients a competitive edge. We specialize in strengthening our clients' brand by creating memorable print & web communication materials while maintaining a cohesive brand image. Eighty2degrees will donate 12 hours of brand consultation and design time toward the winning company's logo development. Ideally, the winner will already have a placeholder logo. The end product will be a logo for print and web applications, as well as an one-page style guide.

Noble Profit

Noble Profit (http://nobleprofit.org/)  serves as an authentic source to discover innovation, trends and investment in clean tech and sustainable business. Dispelling the myth that zero harm costs more, Noble Profit shares insights from corporate leaders adopting clean tech and creating profitable sustainable practices. Noble Profit explores the question of value, providing unique insight into today’s trends featuring inventors, investors, sustainable business experts, and thought leaders. Noble Profile will produce a short video for prize-winning team. Caveat -- all filming must be done in the San Francisco bay area. If this prize is not selected, Noble Profit will profile the top seven teams in a special feature on the Mentor Capital Network.

UX Interactive

UX Interactive is a digital design and development firm specializing in websites and internet based applications for nonprofits and sustainable, socially responsible businesses. They have donated ten hours of professional services to a prize winner. With those 10 hours, UX Interactive could provide you with strategic planning, usability analysis, or platform selection for your company's website or digital application.

Legal and Accounting


Paxton Legal


Paxton Law Group LLP (http://www.paxtonlawgroup.com/) is a full-service business law firm serving the Washington, DC community and beyond. We represent a number of startup and established businesses, advising on such matters as commercial transactions, intellectual property, securities, regulatory compliance, real estate and litigation. Three finalists are each invited to choose from one of the following: (1) LLC Formation Package – includes filing of articles of organization and preparation of an LLC Operating Agreement, (2) Trademark Package - includes search, opinion and filing of application for one trademark in one class or (3) five hours of commercial contract review. Each has a value of $1750.

Swankin_Turner image Swankin and Turner (www.swankin-turner.com) is a law firm specializing in the areas of regulation (food and drug, health care, standard setting, antitrust and trade) and policy (agricultural, insurance, corporate, tax, administrative and consumer). Established in Washington, D.C. in 1973, it serves a broad variety of individual and organizational clients, including national and local business corporations and non-profit associations. Swankin & Turner has donated 25 hours of legal assistance to a winning team.


Stargazer Consulting offers a wide range of corporate legal services. We specialize in drafting and negotiating a comprehensive array of corporate agreements. We can help you plan one particular matter and draft a specific agreement, or we can design a form agreement tailored for your recurring needs. We also handle all of the routine corporate filing matters – from formation through dissolution. Stargazer Consulting is donating five hours of legal services as a prize.

Acumen Accounting


Acumen (http://www.nonprofitaccountingacumen.com/about.htm), the Washington DC accounting firm, offers over 20 years of experience to small businesses throughout the DC area. Acumen provides traditional accounting services, financial statement preparation, bookkeeping & write-up service, payroll and employee benefits administration, QuickBooks setup, training and troubleshooting, as well as specialized services for Government & Private Foundation Grant & Award Management for educational and arts organizations, membership associations, and other non-profit organizations and associations. Acumen has donated a prize of $2,500 worth of accounting (typically, 30-35 hours) of corporate set-up or other accounting work.

Consulting, Training and/or Strategic Advice

B Revolution

B Revolution (http://www.brevolution.com/) serves companies that are already B Corporations, or that wish to achieve the B Corporation certification.  Our services include legal entity formation or transition, certification assessment assistance, policy and program development, strategic alignment and score optimization, and ongoing compliance.  B Revolution’s team of expert advisors provides experience-tested advice and guidance on how to implement sustainable social and environmental impact practices to maximize revenues, cut costs, build brand equity, and solicit the right kind of capital. B Revolution will help one company through the B Lab certification process towards B Corporation certification. 

Eco-Coach Eco-Coach, Inc. (www.eco-coach.com/) is a Washington DC based environmental sustainability consulting firm that assists leading organizations to evaluate, design, and implement sustainable practices for long-term organizational success and positive environmental and social impact. You will receive up to 10 hours of support to help your company be more eco-friendly and decrease its carbon footprint.
Gaia Group

GAIA Group (http://gaiagroupdc.com/) provides a communications champion for businesses that need to take their market messages to a new level. We focus on assisting organizations develop diverse and effective communications programs from venture-backed start-up strategies to national branding campaigns. Our focus is on working with organizations that have a ‘good purpose’ mission that enables sustainable growth for all global citizens. Gaia is offering a half day message discovery workshop suitable for organization’s of all levels from seed stage to later stage startups. 


John Friedman

John Friedman (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-friedman/) is one of the most influential sustainability voices on digital media, as ranked by Guardian, Triple Pundit and Fast Company. He blogs for some of the most influential websites, including Huffington Post, CSRWire, 3BLmedia and Sustainable Brands. He also serves as director for corporate responsibility communications for Sodexo Group. He is willing to share successful digital media strategies to engage with stakeholders in free consultation for an organization, large or small, wishing to establish its digital identity. 4 hours offered - receipient must be flexible due to Mr. Friedman's travel schedule. This prize is worth $1,000. Global prize thanks to Skype.

Islay Consulting LLC
Islay Consulting LLC (http://www.consultislay.com) was formed to meet the needs of innovative clients committed to effecting positive change. Since 2005, Islay has contributed strategic support to leaders developing results-oriented policies and programs, from grassroots to global, enabling organizations to make expertly informed decisions to improve both governance and performance during high-risk periods in development. Founder Dr. Terry Babcock-Lumish will provide 5 hours of advisory services. This prize is best suited for an organization focused on energy, the environment, technology, or food.


Mac McCabe

Mac McCabe (www.linkedin.com/pub/mac-mccabe/7/4a3/705) is a sustainable business consultant. His particular passions are natural and organic foods (from restaurants to manufacturing) and social enterprises (particularly those that include marginalized populations in their employee pool). He hase guided enterprises both as a consultant/advisor and, where needed, as active interim management. He has served as interim CEO of Greyston bakery, Eileen Fisher, Northeast Cooperatives, and the Georgetown Collection. He was also the CEO of O'Naturals, a fast casual natural and organic cafe. He will donate a day's worth of consulting.

On Belay Business Advisors On Belay Business Advisors (http://youronbelay.com) will donate ten hours of advisory services and executive coaching to a competition award winner. You will receive expert support, assisting your company or non-profit in every business discipline. For more information see http://youronbelay.com/services.
Social Enterprise Associates Social Enterprise Associates (http://socialenterprise.net/), a registered ‘B Corp’, twice named ‘Best for the World’ small business, is a triple bottom line consulting firm leveraging the power of the marketplace to generate financial, social, and environmental returns.We will provide one of the winners capital advisory services - assistance with capital formation and raising funds. This includes getting ‘game ready’: reviewing existing materials, establishing effective presentations, helping with pitches, considering private offerings or crowdfunding, connecting to investors/banks, identifying the best financing options, and/or shaping business partnerships as best suits your needs.
SpeakeasyDC (http://www.speakeasydc.com/) empowers executives and leaders with the skills needed to be dynamic communicators. We do this by teaching you how to tell true stories that are authentic, compelling, and motivate others. Through private coaching, we customize the learning process to meet your needs. Our experienced instructors will provide a 90 minute training session over the phone, over Internet video chat or in person (if you are in the Washington, DC area).
Strategic Sustainability Consulting

Strategic Sustainability Consulting (www.sustainabilityconsulting.com/) provides organizations with the tools and expertise they need to actively manage their social and environmental impacts. They specialize in helping small and medium size organizations implement sustainable solutions usually reserved for larger companies. Strategic Sustainability Consulting (SSC) is offering a prize-winning team 15 hours of strategic advice. This prize is appropriate for all teams, with the understanding that all support is done remotely via phone, email, Skype, etc. The winning team should expect to spend an hour on the phone with the SSC team within two weeks of receiving this prize, so that we can decide how best to utilize the hours allocated.


For companies in the Washington, DC Area

Shifting Patterns

Shifting Patterns (http://shifting-patterns.com/) is a socially responsible consulting firm that facilitates social change by working alongside social enterprises to address challenges related to resource mobilization, strengthening the organization behind the mission, and partnership development. This prize, which is ideally suited for social enterprises in the DC area, includes a free one-hour consultation to better understand your challenges with launching or growing a newly formed business as well as jointly designing and implementing a solution, such as integrating a social impact component with metrics into your business plan or assessing readiness and next steps for entering into a partnership.

Yes! Circle Logo

Yes!Circle (http://www.yescircle.org/) is a vibrant community of energetic, passionate, innovative entrepreneurs in all stages of business development. YES!Circle will provide a one-year membership to a company in the Washington, DC area. Connect and build relationships with like-minded entrepreneurs, potential clients, and collaborators in a positive, supportive, open environment. Complimentary 1-hour Business Coaching consultation each membership year – applicable to new and renewing members ($250 value) and numerous other benefits.

Weldie & Associates

Weldie & Associates is an experienced accounting and management advisory firm with both for- and nonprofit experience, which assists companies at every stage of their life cycle. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Weldie & Associates will offer five to ten hours of consulting, for assistance with the setup of an accounting system, or to provide an evaluation of an existing accounting system or general accounting information and advice.
The Affinity Lab Affinity Lab (http://www.affinitylab.com) is a co-working and incubation space that has received national and international recognition for fostering social enterprises. It is regularly voted one of the best places to work in Washington, DC. For details on what the lab offers, visit www.affinitylab.com. They have donated three prizes for cohort companies in the Washington, DC area: One year’s worth of Virtual Membership; Six month’s worth of Virtual Membership; Three month’s worth of Virtual Membership. 
Bethesda Green The Bethesda Green (http://bethesdagreen.org/index.php/incubator/) incubator grows green businesses and nonprofit organizations that enable our community and the larger society to live and work more sustainably. They are offering one year of co-working space for a DC-area green company. 






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