The 2009-2010 Social Impact Business Plan Competition Winners: Rubicon Emerge and the Parent-Child Home Program

This post is part of a series of posts generated through a collaboration with Geri Stengel of Ventureneer to provide a one-stop resource for insights and news from the Social Impact Exchange Conference on Scaling Social Impact, held June 17 - 18, 2010.

The Social Impact Exchange Conference on Scaling Social Impact ended with the selection of 2009-10 Business Plan Competition winners. Eight organizations competed in the final round and were grouped in two categories: early-stage and mezzanine-stage. The early-stage finalists – organizations that have a strategy for scaling their social impact and whose initiatives are in the early stage of growth – included Benetech, Higher Achievement, North Lawndale Employment Network, and Rubicon Emerge. The mezzanine-state finalists – organizations that have significant levels of success and demand for services from their target populations, and also have demonstrated positive outcomes and defined strategies for scaling social impact – include First Book, Grameen Foundation, the Parent-Child Home Program, and ROC USA, LLC.

The Social Impact Business Plan Competition aimed to identify social sector programs and initiatives with demonstrated impact that are in a position to grow and provide them with financial and consultation support. Nearly 200 nonprofit organizations headquartered in the United States entered the competition at either the early-stage or mezzanine-stage level. They represent a wide spectrum of efforts focused on education, youth development, health, poverty alleviation, and community development. The applicants were evaluated over an eight-month process during which they developed and submitted their business plans to scale up their operations. Early-stage applicants that continued into the second round took part in group training conducted by Duke university faculty. Mezzanine-stage applicants that continued into the second round received tailored individual consulting from field experts.

At the Conference on Scaling Social Impact, each of the eight finalists gave a 10 minute presentations of its business plan to a panel of judges followed by brief question and answer session. The finalists were judged by a panel of 9 judges that included Rod Aronson (executive director of Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management), Johnny Celestin (founder of the Haitian Fund for Innovation and Reconstruction Fund at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors), Peggi Einhorn (chief financial officer and treasurer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), Jed Emerson (Blended Value), John F. Gillespie (founder and president of Beyond the Bottom Line), Wendy Kuran (Associate Dean for Centers and Corporate Relations at Duke's Fuqua School of Business), Theresa A. Schieber (Vice President and COO of The Whelan Group), Terry Simonette (President and CEO of NCB Capital Impact), and Geri Summerville (Executive Vice President of Public/Private Ventures).

Rubicon Emerge was selected as the early-stage winner. Emerge replaces predatory payday lending choices for people living paycheck to paycheck with an online lending and financial education platform that offers workplace loans through bank and credit union partners. It intends to raise $500,000 in seed stage capital to finance its operational growth over the next 24 months. As the early-stage winner it will receive $25,000 and six months of consulting services from Public/Private Ventures.

The Parent-Child Home Program was selected as the mezzanine-stage winner. Its scaling plan will expand its home-based literacy and language skills program that helps develop the social-emotional and cognitive competencies children need to succeed in school. As the mezzanine-stage winner it will receive $50,000 and nine months of consulting services from The Whelan Group.

Congratulations to both winners and to all the organizations that advanced into the finalist stage. I look forward to learning more about how the winners will adapt their growth strategies over the coming months.

Tags: Scaling Social Impact, Social Innovation, Philanthropy, Nonprofits, Social Impact Exchange