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ILE Competitions: GSVC

Frequently Asked Questions

Understand the Competition

For a comprehensive breakdown of rules, requirements, eligibility, etc. visit

Please note, the FAQs below apply to the 2019 GSVC competition and may not be entirely up-to-date. Please monitor this page for updated information and use the Eligibility Rules and Guidelines page for the most recent information in the meantime.

Q: What defines a “social venture”?

A: There are many definitions of “social venture.” For the Competition, a social venture is defined as a business that:

  • Plans to be financially sustainable or profitable; whether tax-exempt or not, it must be self-sufficient on its earned revenue
  • Has a quantifiable social and/or environmental bottom line incorporated into its mission and practices

Q: What evaluation criteria will be used?

A: Plans will be judged according to the feasibility of the business concept, as well as feasibility and scope of the venture’s stated social and/or environmental purpose. For more information, please see Judging Criteria.

Q: Can one be eliminated from the Competition in the executive summary round?

A: Yes. The executive summary is an elimination round if you submit your Executive Summary to the GSVC web site. The Indian School of Business held an optional executive summary round for ventures from Asia.

Q: How many plans will make it to the final round?

A: Each Regional Partner competition will send two finalists to the Global Finals.

Q: How many teams from one program or university may enter?

A: There are no limits to the number of applicants from a particular program or university.

Q: Can a team enter other business plan competitions?

A: Yes. We encourage every team to enter as many competitions as possible.  This helps you continue to refine your business plan and your determination is a great indicator of future business success.

Q. How do I know where to send my executive summary or business plan?

A. Each Regional and Outreach Partner School manages their own round.  Please visit “The Competition” section for details on regions and deadlines.  Please submit your entry based on the region you are from, not where your company is located (i.e., if you are graduate student from Northwestern University, but are working on a business idea in India, you will submit your entry to the US round).

Submit an Executive Summary and/or Request a Mentor.

Q: Can I submit my full plan if I don’t enter an executive summary?

A: No, you must submit and executive summary. The strongest executive summaries will be invited to submit a full business plan. These ventures will also be matched with a mentor.

Q: How do I submit an executive summary?

A: We will be using a new platform to submitt executive summaries this year. Details will be announced shortly.

Q: Will I receive feedback?

A: Teams will receive comments and feedback by mail, fax or e-mail.

Q: Can you connect me with a mentor?

A: We are happy to facilitate working relationship between entrants and venture capitalists, academics, or other professionals with relevant business or social venture expertise. In the past, mentors have assisted teams with writing the business plan, calculating social return on investment, and presenting ideas to potential investors. If you would like us to connect you with a mentor, please reach out to us and we will do our best to match your team with a mentor whose industry experience and skills compliment those of the team and its business plan.

Enter the Competition.

Q: Do you have any information about how to write a business plan?

A: Yes. Take a look at our resources.

Q: How do I submit my business plan?

A: Please refer to the submission requirements for your managing school.

Q: Does the business plan page restriction (25 pages) include the appendix?

A: The Business Plan must be limited to 25 pages (typed and double-spaced, #12 font, and 1-inch margins) of text, charts, and diagrams. This includes financials or other appendices which are limited to 5 pages

Q: Are resumes mandatory for Advisory Board members?

A: No. However, resumes are useful in showing how the advisor’s skills relate to the industry, market, strategy, operations, etc. of the product/service you are pitching. The same might be accomplished with a summary about who the advisors are and how their knowledge is relevant or how it fills gaps on the management team.

Q: Can resumes exceed one page?

A: Resumes should be limited to ONE page per team member.

Q: Should there be a link between the discount rates for FROI and SROI?

A: There is no inherent link between SROI and FROI rates, although the business’s fortunes impact both measurements. The SROI discount rate should represent the risk or uncertainty inherent in the assumptions about returns. Please see Social Impact Assessment Guide III for more information on calculating SROI.

Submit your business plan for final rounds of judging.

Q: Do I submit both electronic and paper copies of my business plan for the semi-final and final rounds?

A: Your managing school will communicate submission guidelines before the semi-final and final rounds.

Q: Do I make edits to my plan between the semi-final and final rounds?

A: Entrants are expected to modify their plans between rounds, although they may not be able to do everything the feedback suggests.

Q: Do I need to present my business plan if I make it to the final round?

A: Yes, you must present your business plan in person to a panel of judges. The dates for the Global Finals event at UC Berkeley are available on the website.



Still have questions?

Send an e-mail to the competition organizers at .