Welcome to GSVC Matchmaker

This blog has been created by GSVC to facilitate matchmaking among entrepreneurs with business plans and potential entrants. Business students looking for ventures and ventures looking for business school students are encouraged to share opportunities and interests here!

For ventures seeking student talent:

Please send a short description of your venture, including stage, sector, geographic location, specific project you need student help with, and contact information to gsvc [at] haas.berkeley.edu. Please keep your business background and description to 1-2 paragraphs, and your summary of desired talent characteristics to 1 paragraph or several bullets. Please also include your location, contact information, and preferred method of contact.

All of this information will be posted by GSVC as an Entry on this site.

For students seeking a venture:

Please browse the ventures posted here and contact them either by posting a comment to the appropriate venture, or by contacting them directly.

If you have any questions about GSVC's entrant requirements, please consult the GSVC website: www.gsvc.org.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Maatiam (formerly FreePledge) is a young for-profit social venture that aims to become the leading social retail channel that enables consumers to support their causes while shopping online.

Maatiam has developed solutions that bring together socially conscious consumers, socially responsible corporations, online retailers, and nonprofit organizations. Maatiam has created a win-win-win-win situation by introducing consumption based philanthropy to the average online consumers.

Graduate Student Role:
We are seeking a graduate student to work with the funding team to develop a business plan to address our target strategic partners in the retail space (market analysis including industry trends, competition, market size, barriers to entry; business model; value proposition).

Contact information:
Caroline Bernadi
650 283 7265

Agricola International



According to the revised poverty reduction strategy paper of 2006, 57% of Senegal’s 11.3 million inhabitants is poor and lives off less than U$1 per day. Women and youths below 30 constitute 80% of the population and 90% of the impoverished and income strapped segment. Of these, more than 3 million intelligent, and ambitious able-bodied youths are struggling to find jobs and business opportunities but are constrained by the lack of opportunity.


Agricola International positions itself as a land developer, a leasing company, an investment broker, a franchisor, a savings and loans provider and a marketing service provider. We franchise agricultural condominiums to enable poor youths to own highly productive business enterprises on a pay-as-you-earn basis. We use marketing and branding to create the term Esperanto as our trademark, which describes a new generation of dynamic young change makers and social activists groomed to stimulate Africa’s Green Revolution and to fulfill the millennium promise on the African continent by:

- Converting small owner-managed agricultural production systems into mega industries composed of a critical mass of youth entrepreneurs motivated to pool together their resources, talents and energies for profitable production designed to maximize returns per unit of irrigated space to competitive levels with other natural resources like, phosphate and gold currently mined in Senegal.

We strive to keep several windows simultaneously open on a promising future by inventing the (B.F.O.T) Build, Franchise, Operate and Transfer system with emphasis on:

  • Build and develop land and turnkey business opportunities to produce high value crops for local markets, import substitution and exports.
  • Franchise through training and coaching to establish profitable life-long joint venture partnerships with bank-unworthy poor.
  • Operate and manage systems that transform and empower the poor
  • Transfer infrastructural and technological packages to those who show readiness, diligence and willingness to consolidate success.


Are you a graduate student with an interest in Africa?

Are you proficient in computer-modeling production and supply chain systems?

Do you have the acumen to play a key role in developing foreign markets for exporting high quality ordinary and organic products?

Are you determined to model your career path from volunteer to CEO in 5 years.


If you think the above profile describes you, send a ONE PAGE letter of interest to Francis Nuwame (Director)- francagricola@yahoo.fr


Maatiam (formerly FreePledge) is a young for-profit social venture that aims to become the leading social retail channel that enables consumers to support their causes while shopping online.

Maatiam has developed solutions that bring together socially conscious consumers, socially responsible corporations, online retailers, and nonprofit organizations. Maatiam has created a win-win-win-win situation by introducing consumption based philanthropy to the average online consumers.

Graduate Student Role:
We are seeking a graduate student to work with the funding team to develop a business plan to address our target strategic partners in the retail space (market analysis including industry trends, competition, market size, barriers to entry; business model; value proposition).

Contact information:
Caroline Bernadi
650 283 7265

MOMS Incorporated

Thriving Moms. Thriving Communities. Thriving Economy

MOMS Incorporated is social venture committed to providing high quality services and products while following a unique and innovative family-friendly business model. MOMS Incorporated will provide outsourcing services and specialty products by utilizing the skills, talents and expertise of stay-home moms or working moms who wish to spend more time caring for their small children.

MOMS Incorporated business strategy embodies two key elements:

1. Family-friendly business model:
  • The unique and innovative family-friendly business model will be the first of its kind in the Bay Area.
  • Apprenticeship opportunities will effectively increase wide-area workforce productivity and career development among employees.
  • The family-friendly policies will increase productivity by decreasing turnover, absenteeism, tardiness, low morale and illnesses.
  • Opportunities will be available for moms to learn how to develop a business and will help moms attain the skills to grow as entrepreneurs.
2. Services and products:
  • Outsourcing services will vary in order to accommodate business and market needs.
  • High quality products will be produced according to business and market needs.
  • Only services and products of the highest quality will be offered and they will be delivered to customers with a “personal touch”.
Strategic Objectives
  • To provide high quality services and products to meet the changing needs of local individuals, small businesses, nonprofit and public organizations and corporations.
  • To promote and create business networks of local moms with similar skills, interest and expertise.
  • To promote and increase quality family time.
  • To create and foster business partnerships among communities and increase awareness of importance of family-friendly business models.
  • To strengthen local economies by supporting the economic needs of local families and the business community.
Business Needs:
We are interested in finding a graduate student who can help us further develop our current business plan. In particular, we are looking for a student who has or would like to acquire more experience in developing a solid marketing, operational, management and organizational plan. It would be helpful for the graduate student to understand the current economic status of young families with small children in California. The student will be working with a group of moms who have a great vision but lack the skills to develop a sustainable social entrepreneurship. The family-friendly business model that MOMS Incorporated is hoping to create will be the first of its kind in California.

MOMS Incorporated
Making Entrepreneurial Connections for Moms
(510) 917-0181
(707) 299-0856 fax
Email: normalisenko@comcast.net

Monday, November 26, 2007


Social Pain
Government and non-profit disaster preparedness initiatives have failed. By the Red Cross’ own statistics, only 6% of Bay Area families are prepared for a disaster. Aside from lacking a compelling product, the major reason these groups have failed is that they market from the top down. They post billboards on the side of the freeway and blanket the airwaves with commercials, but people don’t listen.

The Solution
LReady solves this problem by approaching preparedness from the bottom up and leveraging the power schools and families have over parents. In the same way students spearheaded antismoking efforts after learning about the harmful effects of cigarettes in school, LReady will educate students about disaster preparedness so they can get their parents to take action at home.

LReady does this by providing schools with the tools they need to get prepared internally and educate their students about emergency safety. For example, LReady provides schools with curriculum materials that culminate in a homework assignment to build a disaster plan at home with the web-based LReady platform. The LReady website provides its users with the tools they need to quickly build disaster plans, buy the proper emergency supplies, and stay connected with a multi-channel messaging system during a actual emergencies.

To see exactly how this works, please visit our product demo at www.lready.com/schools.

What We Need
We are looking for a graduate student who wants to lead the development of our GSVC business plan entry and perhaps have an ongoing role in the company. We need specific help with sales, strategy, and software development.
We will provide all student team members with a modest stock options package. If you happen to be a programmer with experience in Flash, Flex, or ActionScript, we can send some cash your way too.

The Company
LReady is a for-profit corporation. The beta version of the non-messaging planning system will be launching in January. Schools are signed up for the pilot launch, and the company is revenue generating through its brick and mortar channels.


Chris Hulls, chris@lready.com, (415) 462-0002 x706.


We're building a community website for avid book readers.

This can be a highly profitable venture by monetizing a mature, educated and affluent audience and by enabling authors, small publishers and independent booksellers to connect with communities of dedicated and intellectually engaged readers.

It can also have positive social impact by resisting the homogenization of culture and promoting literacy, especially among the younger population, by adding a social dimension to books.

We're looking for a current graduate business student or recent grad to contribute to our social and marketing strategy and help us win the Global Social Venture Plan Competition.


Those interested please contact florianpestoni at hotmail dot com.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Market for Change

Vision and Scope

Millions graduate from sub-Saharan Africa's tertiary institutions each year and face unemployment rates of over 60%. Educated young people have two options: either stay in their home countries and face unemployment, or go overseas and contribute to the "brain drain."

Outsourcing customer support and back office functions has provided over a million jobs in India, China and the Philippines. We believe the same thing can happen in Africa, if two major hurdles are addressed: negative perceptions of the continent (fueled by a belief that all countries and locations carry the same risks) and of outsourcing in general, and structural problems with current business models for brokering outsourcing deals to Africa.

Market for Change aims to tackle these challenges by:

1.Developing a global set of quality and fair trade/social impact ("Responsible Outsourcing") standards designed for small and medium-sized companies in developing countries

2.Creating a web-based brokerage and escrow service that screens vendors according to these standards and acts as a legal and financial intermediary between US clients and African firms

3.Showcasing social impact with a custom-built wiki for content generated by students and workers in the industry

Opportunities for Graduate Students

We are looking for students for a range of roles. Most critically, MfC needs help developing a marketing plan to pitch outsourcing services to non-profits and socially-responsible businesses in the US. We are also looking for help with our financial plan and revenue model (based on commissions from the brokerage service).

Contact Information

Leila Chirayath
Market for Change | www.marketforchange.org
mobile: +1 917 856 9933
skype: leila.chirayath

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


People and technology making language learning come alive

InterLangua provides ‘foreign’ language tutors from developing countries to U.S. universities, corporations and individuals. The tutors live in their own countries and work over Internet using a high quality, low bandwidth video conference. Currently Spanish language tutors from Guatemala work with U.S. students at Yale, Duke, Marist College and Nextel, among others. InterLangua-Chinese will launch from Shenzhen, P.R. China in January 2008, the only wholly foreign-owned company located in a Chinese government sponsored business incubator..

InterLangua is committed to training knowledge workers in emerging economies. Our tutors provide U.S. clients with one-to-one tutorials in their native language. The student logs on to their language tutorial from the convenience of their laptop or desktop. Tutor and student see each other with full-motion video, and hear and speak synchronously. These one-on-one sessions, based solely on the curriculum needs of the student, allow for maximum language speaking fluency and convenience. The tutors also learn how to use an advanced set of technologies and to develop collaborative teaching methods. By moving their language tutoring skills from isolated locations to the U.S., tutors earn substantially more than they otherwise would.

InterLangua seeks assistance to resolve issues pertaining to scaling an entrepreneurial, transnational service business. Some of the business skills we seek include the following:
  • Analysis of current consolidated business plan
  • Prepare current business financial model for venture financing
  • Synthesize marketing and coordinate sales strategies in new market segments
  • Provide cross-cultural training and team development systems

Explore our website at www.interlangua.com to understand our exciting services. Please note: the InterLangua-Chinese website will launch in two months so all available tutorial services are currently for Spanish.

InterLangua contact information:
Elisabeth Montgomery, Ph.D. – General Regional Manager/Pacific Rim
Office: Emeryville, CA Contact: 510-301-2104

Kid Scoop

Kid Scoop is a newspaper feature published in more than 400 newspapers in the United States, Thailand, Uganda, Canada, and Korea. The page’s weekly circulation is 7.5 million.

As a company, Kid Scoop addresses two key issues: youth disenfranchisement and the state of journalism.

Research and educational experts agree that disenfranchisement, a lack of connection to school and community, and low academic skills lead to problems that diminish human potential creating serious social problems.

Kid Scoop’s program provides community newspapers with proven tools and structures to improve literacy rates and provide children a way to connect with their community.

Kid Scoop’s potential for integrating its proven and easily replicated educational program into the structures of thousands of community newspaper business models worldwide opens a door for global communication and understanding on a weekly, even daily basis.

The goal of the Kid Scoop Foundation is to develop funding for outreach and educational programs that support community newspapers in setting up partnerships with schools to forward literacy and civic participation.

A graduate student would assist in the development of a strategic plan, identify potential funders and partners and develop proposals for these potential funders and partners. We are particularily interested in a student with knowledge of the web and how we can expand training and programming to small newspapers around the world in a cost-effective way using the internet.

Vicki Whiting
President and Founder
Kid Scoop
(707) 996-6077
181 Andrieux Suite 200
Sonoma, CA 95476

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Catalog Choice

Catalog Choice - a national direct mail opt-out site. The site currently focuses on catalogs but can easily be expanded to other forms of mail. The service is free to consumers. There is a companion service that we are offering to Merchants whereby we provide them with the list of opt-out requests in machine readable form. The service is provided by Catalog Choice, a project of the Ecology Center; National Wildlife Federation and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). You can visit the site at www.catalogchoice.og. Our merchant service is profiled at www.catalogchoice.org/merchant. The site launched on October 9, 2007. Within four weeks, we have 100,000 registered users opting out of over 750,000 catalog titles.

Chuck Teller
Executive Director
Catalog Choice at chuck@catalogchoice.org

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Consume Alert

Consume Alert is a FOR-Profit start-up with a social mission. Through a suite of web-based applications and services, Consume Alert will protect consumers from unknowingly purchasing or retaining recalled and otherwise hazardous products, vastly reducing the 27,100 deaths and 33.1 million injuries related to consumer products that occur each year in the US alone. Consume Alert is currently being developed by a team grad students, with input from several faculty advisors, from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and School of Information (formerly SIMS).

Our greatest need for the founding team is for web-developers, especially those with skills in MySQL, PHP and XML.

There are also several other areas in which students could get involved for class projects and b-plan teams:

- Web Design
- Market research
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Issues related to IP and the Web
- Financial modeling and analysis
- Social impact analysis

In addition to the GSVC, we will be entering the Berkeley B-plan competion, and potentially other business plan competitions. We are also scheduled to present to VCs in December. Any student working on the b-plan or otherwise involved with the project will have the opportunity to participate in these events.

Jennifer P. Toney
MBA Candidate, 2008
Haas School of Business
University of California, Berkeley

Investment Tool

I would like to develop an online investment tool to help independent investors invest in SRI funds and responsible companies.

While working at KLD Research and Analytics (a socially responsible investment research firm), I became aware of the lack of SRI tools for independent investors. Most SRI funds and research outfits work primarily or exclusively with institutional investors and large public pension funds. There is a lack of awareness among independent investors about SRI funds, opportunities to invest in more environmentally/socially responsible companies, and information about the ROI on those SRI opportunities. As a result, individual investors who might be interested in SRI must do their own SRI research (which makes them absorb an opportunity cost for that time). It also forces investors to locate and pay for an advisor that specializes in this, which raises fees and may not deliver a return that matches the fees.

My idea is to create some type of online tool to help independent investors invest in SRI funds and companies with positive social/environmental performance. It would kind be an SRI version of Ameritrade or E*Trade on which investors can learn about and invest in a variety of SRI funds or make single trades based on companies’ social and financial performance. My theory is that if you can make SRI more accessible to independent investors and demonstrate that returns can be decent, you can tap into a large market of socially-minded independent investors and small social ventures who like the idea of SRI but have limited means and time to find a money manager knowledgeable about SRI strategy. My goal is for the holdings to be quite liquid so that lower-net-worth investors (i.e. younger people) have an incentive to save and invest their money but still be able to “withdraw” it easily. The tool should focus on ease of use, point-of-investment information about social responsibility, and quality of investment opportunities.

Ways that others can help/get involved in launching this business plan:
  • Web-development and software engineering
  • Research – researching ROI of SRI funds; developing and executing framework to select socially responsible companies
  • Marketing – assessing market for individual investment in SRI
  • Product development
  • Business plan development
  • Development of SROI (social impact assessment)
Megha Doshi | MBA Candidate 2009 | UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
1.224.875.2368 (mobile) | megha_doshi@mba.berkeley.edu

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Sophia's Garden

The mission of Sophia’s Garden Foundation is to proliferate a compassionate and highly effective way of caring for children with life-threatening conditions, a way that enables families to take charge of their child's health care to ensure the quality of all their lives. We call this approach Healing in Community. It is our belief that healing is, inherently, a community endeavor and that the healing in community approach can:

  • Improve the quality of life for child and family
  • Expand society’s capacity for caregiving, while reducing social costs of illness
  • Create a wellspring of growth and healing for all community members
  • Develop an open, living knowledge base of healing that is accessible to all
  • Focus on living fully and embracing transformation
Our first initiative is to create an integrated, Web-based survival kit for families of children diagnosed with life-threatening conditions, Healing in Community™ Online, that informs, supports and enables families to harness the power of community to address all of their needs—physical, emotional, financial, social, cultural and spiritual.

Graduate Student
A graduate student could play in the development of the venture: We are in start-up mode and have no paid staff a t this time. I am working, as a volunteer, to develop the Business Plan, and would welcome help from a grad student who is familiar with (or would like to research) effective funding models for non-profit social entrepreneurs.

Chuck Walrad

Berkeley Sourcing Group

I have a small business which provides turn-key manufacturing solutions to American businesses looking to produce their products in China. I have partnered with a Chinese gentleman who helps manage overseas offices and employees allowing us to remain small but have access to substantial engineering, sourcing, and quality control resources with over 200 hundred employees in seven offices located throughout China. While we service a vast range of industries, our focus is on innovative products for clients with net sales between $2-20 million/annum.
One of my personal goals in developing this business is to use our purchasing influence to improve working and environmental conditions in China. I believe there are a couple different ways in which a graduate student could learn a lot and contribute to our efforts. After operating for two years we have recently landed a couple major clients and I would like to develop a marketing plan which can:
  1. Effectively use our newly acquired capitol to grow our business
  2. Develop our brand name with an emphasis on social responsibility
  3. Identify advantageous marketing channels
The second is that I have recently come across a newly developed product from a Chinese manufacturer who would like my help to market and distribute his product in America. For this project I am also looking for help with a marketing plan and distribution channels. The product is a high-tech cell phone accessory. I would be interested in attending the lunch session and discussing more about these opportunities with you and the other students.

Berkeley Sourcing Group
2012B Hearst Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94709
Phone: (415)646-5440
China Cell: (86)13434459223
SkypeIn: (415)315-9804
Fax: (510)665-4127
e-mail: gfisher@berkeleysg.com
web: www.berkeleysg.com

Sunday, October 21, 2007



A web application to share great customer experiences, find recommended service providers, create and manage referral programs, and attract new customers.

Best of all, each successful referral is rewarded by a donation to a non-profit organization.

Pain Points
1) Consumers need trusted recommendations for life's important jobs.

2) Service providers need referrals from satisfied customers to sustainably grow.

3) Individuals need motivation to consistently take the time to make referrals.

The Rephoria Solution
1) Service provider creates a referral program using Rephoria's simple process.

2) Service Providers invite customers and partners to join their Referral Program.

3) Customers and partners use Rephoria to make quick referrals to friends, family, and colleagues.

4) When a referral turns into a customer, the service provider rewards the referrer with a Donation to a non-profit organization of their choice.

Target Markets
Service Providers: Personal, small, and medium sized (1-50 employees) service businesses (i.e real estate agents, financial advisors, health and wellness practitioners).

Individuals: Socially active and upwardly mobile, living in metro regions, ranging from 25-70 years old.

Hasan Luongo
Founder + CEO
Rephoria ~ Where Everyone Wins

p: 707 477 3990
e: hasan@rephoria.com
w: www.rephoria.com

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dissigno: Distributed Power for Haitian Communities

TARGET: To monitor and replicate a pilot project for a community based, sustainable enterprise that provides distributed electrical power
Energy contributes not only to the improvement of education, health and living conditions, especially for women and children, but also to the development of economic activities and the generation of wealth. (© 2007 Electricit√© de France) In Bayonnais, nearly 80,000 Haitians live without access to any form of electricity. Because of government budget constraints there is currently no policy to provide connection to the grid system to this community. Engineers Without Borders (EWB) recently installed a PV system supporting OFCB Ministries School of 1,450 students. However, the majority of the community has no access to this power supply. Some nearby community members tie into the system through a dangerous combination of ad-hoc scavenged wiring. Students wishing to study after dark must use the lights at the school.

dissigno, Eco Systems and OFCB have teamed up for The Pedal Power Project. This partnership has launched a pilot project using Eco System’s pedal technology for 50 families. The Pedal Power Project provides distributed electricity through an innovative application of existing technology. Electricity is created through pedaling and stored in a 12-volt deep cycle battery. This in turn charges smaller 6-volt batteries called home units.
The home units are then distributed with low wattage LED lights to members of the community on a rental program. The system has several advantages over typical power generation technology such as wood burning fires, solar, and fuel. The technology is less expensive. It requires no fuel supply chain with long-term variable costs and supplies. The system is safer and healthier. There is no fire, smoke inhalation, or burning risk. It
reduces the need for wood fires, further limiting deforestation. The generator is made from parts that are easy to locate, even in developing communities, and can be serviced by non-specialized tools and equipment. Training and operation are simple, easily
communicated to any user and operator.

The technology and enterprise is being operated as a “for profit” enterprise to maintain sustainability. It provides distributed electrical power & lighting for community members, creates employment, and stimulates ancillary enterprises. This pilot project deployed in September when an operator was trained with the technology. In December dissigno will return to monitor operations and assist other community members in creating ancillary enterprises surrounding the initial product. This innovative service can scale and replicate easily with the addition of battery/LED units.

FINANCIALS: dissigno has modeled rental prices at USD $0.11 per day. This is what is currently paid by Haitians for kerosene, an inferior lighting technology.

STATUS: dissigno is currently implementing the enterprise in Cathor Haiti. A local community partner is overseeing operations. The community bank is collecting user fees. The enterprise is currently in its second month.

ACTION: dissigno is actively seeking support to gather data on and assist in creating a Social Impact Report to provide status back to private investment.

CONTACT: Gary Zieff www.dissigno.com gary@dissigno.com 415-601-3771

Graduate Student Role

Market research - new potential opportunities that the project can assist in putting into operation

Data Gathering - how has the technology been adopted, what community members are still using the lights, how do they like/dislike the lights

Social Impact Data - what are the effects of the better, improved lighting: school, industry, ancillary enterprise

Assist in identifying new enterprise opportunities using the lights/pedal generators, other owner/operators

World Change Network

Our Mission. The mission of the World Change Network is to enable social entrepreneurs, educators and community leaders to plan, achieve and share initiatives in any language on any Internet device anywhere in the world!

  • Plan. The World Change Network converts a social entrepreneur, educator and community leader vision for change into an implementation plan of tasks. Tasks are assigned to co-workers, volunteers, teachers, students and community members.
  • Achieve. The World Change Network requires everyone to track and report progress on their tasks as quickly and effectively as possible.
  • Share. The World Change Network makes it easy to share successful initiatives with other entrepreneurs (anywhere in the world, in any other language) so they can quickly and simply implement the same tasks and changes found to be successful in current World Change Network programs, schools and communities.
We are looking for an graduate student who can help us develop a business plan to address our target partners in India and Pakistan and later partners in Africa, Latin America, Europe and beyond. Over the past eighteen months we have been developing Internet technology accessible via PC and mobile phones.

See our website at www.worldchangenetwork.com

Kirk Wilson, Ed.D., CEO
World Change Network
266 Washington Court
Sebastopol CA 95472 USA
Tel: +1-707-206-6171 (USA)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Global Health Corps (GHC)

GHC was founded and is led by Reed M. Benet, presently a Ph.D. student at the UC Davis and a prior Harvard Business School MBA who has over a decade of experience founding, funding, consulting to, or leading venture capital backed start-ups in life sciences and services, high-tech, and most recently enviro- and energy-tech.

GHC is focused on solving the developing world’s nursing shortage by solving and leveraging the market power of that same and growing problem in the U.S. In essence, GHC proposes to rationalize the nurse supply chain, arbitrage significant off-shore and domestic cost and market value and personnel availability differentials, overcome bottleneck supply chain hurdles with major corporate partners, utilize a hybrid for- and non-profit business model (similar to a non-profit hospital), etc. A most recent, but still embryonic Mission Statement is below…

GHC is founded to:

  1. Solve the developing world’s massive and critical shortage of mid-level healthcare providers, particularly the equivalent of associates degree level nurses;
  2. Leverage, extend and improve upon the developing world’s already established healthcare delivery infrastructure overseen by the various Ministries of Health;
  3. Provide, build upon and support, just like with the micro-loans from the Nobel Peace Prize winning Grameen Bank concept, a market and primarily but not necessarily exclusively female driven solution which also improves upon and eventually brings into equality the status of the involved and serviced women; and
  4. Provide, after an NGO and even for-profit entity supported “priming of the pump,” a self-sustaining and significant program growth allowing flow of funds.

GHC is looking for MBA students/grads to help it with its exec summary, business plan, and social return on investment determination/calculations. However, GHC needs individuals who are willing to help dig in right now on all these things since GHC and its corporate partners are focused on finding near-term funding and getting going ASAP. Initial targets for funding are Gates Foundation for the non-profit efforts and Google.org for the for-profit. Experience in healthcare, healthcare management, nursing, remote/online education, immigration law, test preparation, etc. all plusses, but not necessary. More important is finding people who can commit and stay committed, after of course they’ve had a chance to ask all their necessary questions.

Reed M. Benet
415 342 3634

Friday, October 12, 2007

Early Head Start

Early Head Start (EHS): Social Entrepreneurship Could Make EHS Self-Sustaining, Scalable, and a Source of Inner-City Jobs

“Closing Remarks” at the recent Mayor’s Economic Summit in Oakland included a request for proposals of violence prevention programs that are sustainable and collaborative (Dellums, 2007). The present section proposes a novel, potentially self-sustaining funding method for implementing preschool programs modeled after Early Head Start (EHS), a very sparsely implemented federal program for disadvantaged 0- to 3-year-olds. EHS currently serves only 3% of children who are eligible for this program (U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions [HELP], 2007). If enacted, Senator Edward Kennedy’s Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007 would gradually increase EHS implementation over a 5-year period until only approximately 6% of eligible children have access to EHS (U.S. Senate Committee on HELP, 2007). Although EHS was designed to promote school readiness, this program could also be effective for violence prevention because EHS was found to decrease children’s aggressive behavior (Love et al., 2003, 2005). However, given the above federal funding constraints, alternative funding methods must be sought if EHS is to have a significant community-wide impact on violence and school readiness.

EHS is useful for both violence prevention and enhancing school readiness because EHS was found to decrease children’s aggressive behavior, improve attention, and enhance cognitive, emotional, and language development (Love et al., 2003, 2005). EHS achieves these effects by offering multimodal services that focus on enhancing children’s development while strengthening families (Love et al., 2005). The services include parenting education, parent-child group socialization activities, case management, and health care. Each EHS program provides these services in either a center-based, home-based, or combination center- and home-based model.

The current problem of EHS underfunding could be remedied by adopting a market-oriented funding method. Compared to government or philanthropic funding sources, a market-driven social entrepreneurship approach could enable a much more rapid and widespread EHS implementation. As outlined below, this approach is based on concepts of primary prevention of violence, cognitive deficits as targets of primary-prevention efforts, and a more equitable redirection of market forces that presently increase socioeconomic class-related educational disparities.

Parental investment of resources (e.g., purchase of cognitively stimulating materials, engaging children in stimulating activities, etc.) mediated the impact of family income on children’s cognitive skills that underlie cooperative behavior and school readiness (Gershoff et al., 2007). Indeed, money apparently is no object in the rush of affluent parents to enroll their children in the most exclusive preschool programs. Thus, EHS-like programs for children aged 0-3 years may be marketed successfully to affluent parents who are eager to grant their kids any possible educational advantage. Marketing EHS to the affluent offers this educational advantage because EHS constitutes child care of higher quality than is generally available in the U.S. (Love et al., 2003). This parental indulgence of children is a powerful economic engine that would drive up educational and health disparities if the engine were left to run on its own. However, this engine could be exploited to reduce socioeconomic class-related disparities by a social venture that offers EHS-like preschool to children from affluent families. These families could be charged an amount per child that would also fund the enrollment of more than one disadvantaged child in EHS. Thus, the net effect would be a reduction in disparities due to a preponderance of disadvantaged children in these preschool programs. Although existing EHS programs improve children’s cognitive skills (Love et al., 2005), disparities could be further reduced by adding training components that target specific cognitive deficits of disadvantaged children, such as impulsiveness and low attentiveness (Gershoff et al., 2007). Of potential use for this purpose are training procedures that improve children’s inhibitory control and executive attention (Dowsett and Livesey, 2000; Rueda et al., 2005). These added training components could enable the primary prevention of violence for disadvantaged children because impulsiveness and low attentiveness in preschool-aged children predict long-term poor life outcomes, including violent criminal behavior (Caspi et al., 1996; Eigsti et al., 2006). Section II below further discusses the usefulness of training executive attention for the prevention of violence (Rueda et al., 2005).

Over 80% of children from the highest-earning quintile of California families (with annual earnings of at least $118,570) attend a preschool center in the year before kindergarten (Fuller et al., 2005). A large majority of these affluent families with children in preschool probably pay for their child’s enrollment because 60% of all California preschoolers attend a center that is fully supported through parental fees (Bridges, 2006). Given this willingness of many affluent parents to fund their 4-year-old’s preschool enrollment, it seems likely that a significant proportion of these parents would pay for EHS-like preschool for their 0- to 3-year-old children. As noted above, this marketing of EHS-like programs to affluent families would enable funding of EHS for disadvantaged 0- to 3-year-olds. A social venture based on this business model would enable disadvantaged inner-city children to benefit from an equitable redirection of funds voluntarily generated from affluent families in surrounding suburbs. This self-sustaining venture potentially could be brought to scale across metropolitan regions, in the U.S. and elsewhere, with disparate areas of affluence and poverty.

This social venture would also benefit inner-city residents by providing jobs in the EHS-like programs. The most essential aspect of preschool quality is positive teacher-child interactions rather than the earning of an AA or BA degree by teachers (Fuller et al., 2005; Bridges, 2006). Some preschool teachers have not completed high school or have only a high school diploma (Fuller et al., 2005). Furthermore, levels of child development were similar between those in classrooms with BA teachers and those with teachers who had attended specialized in-service workshops (Fuller et al., 2005). Taken together, the above evidence suggests that inner-city residents with good child-interaction skills, but without an AA or BA degree, could be hired to staff EHS-like programs of good quality. Collaborations with community organizations could facilitate the recruitment and workshop-training of residents for these jobs. In summary, by providing jobs in inner-city areas where jobs are needed most, this social venture could contribute to the goal of creating 10,000 new jobs in Oakland (MacDonald, 2007b).

This social venture adapts an EHS-like school readiness program as a violence prevention program because EHS was found to decrease children’s aggressive behavior (Love et al., 2003, 2005). Adapting a school readiness program for violence prevention is supported by neuroscientific data on brain development. Closely related prefrontal brain structures mediate the development of basic decision-making skills that support both moral behavior, which is impaired in violent individuals, and analytical reasoning, which is deficient in disadvantaged children with inadequate school readiness (Immordino-Yang and Damasio, 2007).

The above discussion emphasizes that socioeconomic class-related education and health disparities could be decreased by a social venture that provides EHS-like programs to children from affluent and disadvantaged families. As noted above, disparities could be decreased by enrolling a preponderance of disadvantaged children in these programs and by targeting the programs to improve cognitive deficits in disadvantaged children. Furthermore, a reduction in class-related disparities also would be expected on the basis of evidence that preschool, child-care, or first-grade programs produce particularly beneficial effects on problem behaviors and cognitive skills in disadvantaged children (Peisner-Feinberg and Burchinal, 1997; Peisner-Feinberg et al., 2001; Votruba-Drzal et al., 2004; Gormley Jr. and Phillips, 2005; Hamre and Pianta, 2005). In conclusion, the proposed social venture may provide a novel method for alleviating the inequalities in American society that have been rising in recent decades (Wilson, 1999).

Student Role

The accompanying paper, “A Social Venture That Provides Early Education to Children of Affluent or Disadvantaged Families,” describes a social entrepreneurship approach to implementing Early Head Start (EHS)-like preschool programs for children of affluent or disadvantaged families. That paper broadly outlined an innovative business model that would use funds voluntarily generated by the participating affluent families to implement the programs for disadvantaged children. Therefore, a key plan, which could be assisted by an MBA student, will be to examine the budgetary processes of existing Bay Area EHS and preschool programs in order to start formulating a detailed business plan for the social venture.

The MBA student also could help with marketing research, which will involve surveying affluent parents with regard to their interest in paying to enroll their 0- to 3-year-old children in preschool designed for these formative years. Should such interest be sufficient, start-up funds could be generated by accepting deposits for reserving preschool placements. Therefore, the MBA student could give advice about what type of business entity (e.g., corporation or LLC) would be best suited for accepting deposits and establishing a legal structure for the social venture. If the MBA student is interested in staying involved with the social venture past the 2007-08 academic year, then the student would be welcome to help launch and oversee the venture, possibly leading to entering the venture in the Global Social Venture Competition.

The MBA student also could help recruit a computer science student, who may be able to design child-friendly hardware and software for implementation in the social venture. The computer system could offer simple training exercises aimed at enhancing attention, delayed gratification, and inhibitory control. The computer system could become a patented, legally defensible asset that could help attract investment in the venture. Under close supervision of my patent attorneys, I have had experience in writing an unrelated patent application and subsequent responses during prosecution of the application.


John L. Haracz, M.D., Ph.D.
Phone: (510) 910-2025

E-mail: jharacz@berkeley.edu

Monday, January 08, 2007



We're looking for a dedicated MBA, MPA, or Masters student or degree holder who is able to commit at least 20 hours a week to join as the VP of Marketing for Glowfish, a Web 2.0 social entrepreneurship, immediately.

Glowfish is a Web 2.0 network of nonprofits, foundations, and people interested in the activist community, modeled as a functional version of existing social networks, such as Friendster and Facebook. It's vision is to create a community where nonprofits can share all of their information, from best practices to photos; and to organize and make easily accessible this information, thereby increasing the efficiency with which civil society operates. Glowfish is pre-launch, and can be previewed at www.glowfish.org (when we are not making modifications), or you can look at the attached screencap.

We're looking for someone who is well-organized, creative, self-managing, enthusiastic, writes well, and is ideally located in either Boston or the Bay Area.

A little bit about us. Amit Modi holds graduate degrees from Stanford (in Engineering) and from Harvard (in International Relations). Kumar Kota is an EECS graduate of Berkeley, and has 4+ years industry experience at leading Internet companies.


Kumar Kota - glowfish.kumar@gmail.com