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, October 21, 2007

Rephoria

Rephoria

Description:
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

MEETING THE POWER NEEDS OF RURAL HAITI WITH A
SUSTAINABLE ENTERPRISE MODEL
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

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

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
reedmbenet@att.net
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.

Contact

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

E-mail: jharacz@berkeley.edu