Announcing the 2013 Business Plan Competition Award Winners

Two outstanding organizations – The Hill Center and Juma Ventures – were selected as winners of the Social Impact Exchange’s 2013 Business Plan Competition. The award recipients were selected from among three mezzanine-stage and three early-stage finalists who presented their business plans and responded to questions about scaling their initiatives from a panel of expert judges and field leaders.

The winners receive a cash award and consulting services. Consulting will be provided by TCC Group, a leading firm that develops strategies and programs that enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of nonprofits to achieve scaled impact, and The Finance Project, specialists in helping leaders finance and sustain initiatives that lead to better futures for children, families, and communities.

Last fall, dozens of nonprofits entered the Exchange’s Business Plan Competition and proceeded through several rounds of evaluation by 57 qualified professionals from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. All entrants received customized written feedback on their plans.

The mezzanine-stage award recipient, The Hill Center, addresses the problem of school failure through a research-based curriculum that allows trained teachers to address gaps in skills for students ages 3 to 18. The organization is based in Durham, North Carolina, and scale-up will be accomplished through a “Promote a Model” approach that will scale-out geographically across eastern North Carolina. Hill has over ten years’ experience working with public schools implementing its program model. Over the next 3 years, the Hill Center will expand to 9 additional school districts, while also training and certifying 636 additional teachers, supporting the academic success of 10,000 students.

“This recognition is especially appreciated because of the strong field of finalists this year,” said Hill Center CEO, Dr. Shary Maskel. “The award will provide new momentum for our business plan implementation and really validates the work of so many who share the vision of improved academic achievement and better outcomes for struggling learners in North Carolina and beyond. We thank the Social Impact Exchange for their pioneering work in the field of social innovation.”

The early-stage award recipient, Juma Ventures, creates hundreds of jobs for low-income students and provides an array of support services to ensure those students succeed in college and in their careers. Its model combines employment opportunities, financial literacy education, and academic support. Last year, 100% of Juma’s seniors graduated from high school and 94% successfully transitioned to post-secondary education. In the next 3 years, Juma will expand its social enterprise model into new markets, including aligning with major sports franchises to create thousands more jobs for low-income young people at sports venues throughout the country. Additionally, Juma will increase the number of students served from 1,202 to 2,578 over the next 3 years.

“We’re thrilled to receive this support and recognition from the Social Impact Exchange,” said Juma CEO Marc Spencer. “The consulting and financial resources will help Juma bring our mission to more students in more places and at lower cost, beginning with our expansion to Santa Clara in 2014.”

The awards were conferred yesterday on June 17 at the Social Impact Exchange’s 2013 Symposium on Scaling Impact before an audience of more than 250 grantmakers and nonprofit leaders. In addition to witnessing the Business Plan Competition, Symposium attendees participated in several breakout and plenary sessions including understanding the evolution of growth, keys to successfully scaling impact, achieving sustainability at scale, and the power of collaboration.

The Symposium is followed today by the Exchange’s 2013 Conference on Scaling Impact June 18-20, which specifically targets funders and their advisors. Highlights of the conference include keynote addresses from Tonya Allen, incoming president and CEO, The Skillman Foundation; Jeff Bradach, managing partner and co-founder, The Bridgespan Group; Jim Canales, president and CEO, The James Irvine Foundation; Linda Gibbs, Deputy Mayor, City of New York; and Rip Rapson, president and CEO, The Kresge Foundation. Conference sessions focus on how cross-sector collaboration is taking social impact to new levels.