Social Enterprise plans are judged by a mix of philanthropists, impact investors, capacity building organizations, and social entrepreneurs. There will be two rounds of judging - a semi-final round and a final round. The objective of the semi-final round will be to provide feedback to participants and reduce the pool of contestants to a group of finalists. There will be a different set of judges for the semi-final and final rounds.

Judges are asked to evaluate the plans based upon their potential to become the basis of a viable new venture and will focus on the idea, its potential for social value creation, and the likelihood of achieving success based upon the team's plan and experience. Judges will look at both the strength of the concept and areas related to execution of the plan, and will evaluate specifically:

  • Idea/Concept: The concept reflects an innovative approach. The team has a clear understanding of the issue it seeks to address, why the issue is important, the recipients of the product or service, economic and social drivers of the model, and feasibility of the concept.
  • Social Impact: The business model is likely to make a substantial contribution toward the solution of the issue it seeks to address and can be sustained for a period of time consistent with achieving the desired social impact. (If growing the organization is not the preferred strategy, the program is transferable and replicable.)
  • People: The team (through its members or partnerships) has or can get relevant skills, contacts, industry knowledge, and experience.
  • Context: The conditions (i.e., regulatory, tax, political) are favorable. Market need, size of opportunity, competitive landscape, and potential risks are identified and manageable.
  • Resources: The funding plan is sensible in terms of capital required to launch and operate. Funding sources are identified and a plan for securing initial investment is articulated.
  • Performance Measurement: The plan takes a practical approach to milestones and organizational outcome measurement, and provides a clear plan to deliver high performance.
  • Messaging/Communication: The team was persuasive in communicating the idea and its potential, through the written business plan, presentation, and Q+A.