More than fifty plans entered the competition originally and included for-profit enterprises ranging from crop stabilization in Africa, a sustainable cosmetics company, environmentally focused hardware stores and television stations, ventures that hired the underserved and recently released from jail, and local and international health projects. More than 10 countries were represented, and students and graduates of more than 50 universities were involved.
More than 100 reading judges evaluated the plans, and each plan that made the second round was read and provided with comments at least ten times during the competition. The readers included experts in both social ventures and traditional business plans, community activists, Wall Street professionals, academics, and CEOs of national for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. A list of reading judge backgrounds can be found at http://www.williamjamesfoundation.org/08judges.
The William James Foundation (WJF) will be holding it's 5th annual final presentation round and awards ceremony on Friday, March 7th at the offices of the World Resources Institute in Washington, DC. It will feature a speech by Seth Goldman, T-EO of Honest Tea, about the recent partnership formed between Honest Tea, an organic/fair-trade company, and Coca-Cola. The centerpiece of the event will be 5 minute presentations and 15 minutes of questions and answers for each of the three finalists.