The Greater Good Challenge
Congratulations to the winners of the first Greater Good Challenge! With generous support from the Beba Foundation, the Greater Good Challenge welcomes all Columbia University School of Professional Studies students and alumni to join this business pitch competition. The competition aims to provide a platform to showcase business ideas to improve the social, economic, political, technological and environmental conditions of mankind, societies and the planet in the time of COVID-19 and beyond.
Watch the full competition below.
In the News
Sustainability Management Alumna Marissa Cuevas Heard “The Third World War Will Be About Water.” She Created a Solution for That.
Cuevas created microTERRA, which seeks sustainable water solutions. Her team won first place in the Greater Good Challenge.
Nonprofit Management Alumna Partners with SIPA Graduate to Create Accessible Spanish Language Telehealth Platform
Iriarte and Acosta created Kai, a Spanish teletherapy platform. Their team won second place in the Greater Good Challenge.
Interviews with Judges and Coaches
The Elements of a Successful Health Technology Pitch, according to Jason Kang
SPS students and alumni may submit business plans through September 18 for a chance to compete for up to $10k in seed money.
The Greater Good Challenge Judge Eric Haller: Entrepreneurs Must Address Inequality
Board of Overseers Member Eric Haller joins the Greater Good Challenge as a judge.
Alumni, Entrepreneurs Judge the Challenge
How to Leverage Entrepreneurship into 'Intrapreneurship,' According to Greater Good Challenge Judge Ashley Hicks
"Be really clear about your mission. As an entrepreneur, it's easy to chase one shiny idea after another."
Zontee Hou Offers Lessons in Entrepreneurship for Greater Good Challenge Contestants
"In times of great upheaval, we see true innovation."
The Beba Innovation and Entrepreneurship Foundation was founded in 2018 by Prof. Ali Beba and Umran Beba with a mission to create passion, ignite enthusiasm and to prepare mindsets of innovative youth and female entrepreneurs. The key pillars to achieve this were identified as implementing continuous educational and training activities, mentorship and outreach programs. Our goal is to assist innovative youth and aspiring women entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into applications, commercial products and/or services for global markets. Our motto is "make it happen!" You can reach us at www.bebafoundation.org and info [[at]] bebafoundation [[dot]] org.
The vision of Turkish Philanthropy Funds is to build and serve a community of dedicated, passionate philanthropists and partners working to address social challenges and make a positive impact. TPF’s mission is to inspire and mobilize innovative, high-impact philanthropy that benefits our communities in Turkey and in the U.S. Visit www.tpfund.org.
Solving World Problems
Launch Your Startup
Build a Community of Ideas
Receive Business Coaching
$18,500 in Seed Money
- 1st Prize: $10,000
- 2nd Prize: $5,000
- 3rd Prize: $2,500
- 4th Prize (Audience’s Pick): $1,000
- $500 will also be awarded to each of the 10 finalist teams, thanks to generous support from Turkish Philanthropy Funds
Subsequent Mentorship for Winners
After the competition, the winners will have the opportunity to receive mentorship through the spring term of 2021 from the Beba Foundation. This mentorship will focus only on getting the submission to market and helping the winner be successful in that effort.
Note: All recipients who receive more than $600 prize awards, must fill out a 1099-MISC form as these funds are considered taxable income. For additional information, see https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-1099-misc.
- Sustainability: proposals that address environmental impact and remediation; advance sustainable solutions and business practices (climate change, energy, water, waste, fashion, urban planning,etc.) and more.
- Technology: proposals that optimize organizational performance or process improvement, introduce innovative ways technology solves problems, help individuals adapt to technology’s impact, use technology to improve activities in finance (fintech) and more.
- Healthcare & Wellness: proposals that address health care problems with technology or service-based solutions, advance or enhance our well-being (mental, social, physical, lifestyle,etc.) and more.
- Supply Chain, Logistics & Coordination: proposals that improve supply chain performance or coordination, address logistical problems related to the delivery of goods, services or information and more.
- Social Enterprise: proposals that seek to address unmet or pressing societal needs, goals, change, barriers and more.
Submissions can address an issue in a local, US or international geographical setting as well as a virtual setting. If you think the selection committee may need additional information to better understand your target audience or location, please provide documents as described in the submission form.
Sept. 30 at 5 p.m. ET: New submission deadline
September 30: Finalists are notified
Oct. 1 - 8: Business plan mentorship + communication coaching
Oct. 7 at 12 p.m. ET: Deadline for finalists to submit pitch decks
Oct. 9: Competition
Pitch for 3 minutes
Q&A with Judges for 2 minutes
Value Created by the New Product or Service: What is the new and unique value of product/service? What needs/wants are you trying to satisfy? How important is this product/service to customers and other stakeholders? Provide your validation process for product-market fit and your plans for customer development.
Attractiveness of the Market Opportunity: How large is the market and how fast is it growing? What is your market entry strategy? Can the product/service be successfully monetized? Is the business model both realistic and viable over the short-term? Is the product/service scalable?
Competitive Advantage of the Proposed Venture: Are barriers to entry identified? How are you positioning your product/service in relation to competitors? Is the product/service favorably positioned in the distribution channel? Can this product/service be a leader in its market? How long will it take you to get to market?
Operational and Technological Viability: How will the product or service be produced and delivered to customers? What are the distribution channels? Is any intellectual property essential to success? How will rights to intellectual property be secured? Are there regulatory hurdles? How long will it take to develop the property? Are key milestones identified?
Capital Requirements and Financial Forecast: How will you use the seed money? What are your fixed, variable, periodic expenses? Is any intellectual property essential to success? Is the investment required all at once or can it be staged? How will you sustain your business for the long-term and who are your long-term supporters?
Presentation Delivery: tone, speed, articulation, engagement
Note: The judging criteria are based on the Johns Hopkins University Business Plan Competition model.
Eligibility: All SPS students and alumni
How big can your team be?
A team can be an individual (must be an SPS student or alum) or at least one individual (must be an SPS student or alum) with up to four teammates. The number of presenters in the competition is limited to 2 people per team.
How can I enter the competition?
Fill out a short application following the guidelines as explained in the instructional video How to Craft a Business Plan for the Greater Good Challenge below. Finalists are required to complete the Publications/Photo/Audiovisual Recording Release if selected for this competition; you may do so by checking the Disclaimer box in the application.
Does the business plan need to be related to a student/ alumni’s program?
The business plan does not have to be related to a person's academic program.
Can SPS international students participate?
Yes, all SPS international students and alumni may participate.
For any questions, please contact the Career Design Lab at careerdesignlab [[at]] columbia [[dot]] edu.
Are you new to business competition? Check out this video from the NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center, How to Create A Business Pitch Plan.
*Disclaimer: The Career Design Lab (CDL) doesn’t endorse non-government websites, companies, or applications. The CDL doesn’t attest to the accuracy of information provided by third-parties and other linked sites.
- Only static PowerPoint slides are permitted. No animations or 'movement' of any description are allowed. The slides are to be presented from the beginning of the oration.
- Maximum 2 speakers per team are allowed.
- No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
- No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
- Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
- Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
- Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
- The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.