We support a diverse group of award ceremonies here at Rivanna. From complex government agencies to tiny nonprofits, organizations of all kinds understand the value of recognizing a job well done. Colleges and universities are among the most appreciative, rewarding students, faculty, alumni, and community members for their commitment to academic advancement and exploration.
One program we’d like to highlight is the Sabin Sustainable Venture Prize, sponsored by the Yale Center for Business and the Environment. The award is funded by a grant from the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation, a charitable organization founded in 2007 by environmentalist and philanthropist Andrew Sabin. The program encourages multi-disciplinary, innovative thinking on sustainability issues. Each spring, students and faculty pitch their ideas for sustainable business solutions to real-world challenges. A panel of judges awards the $25,000 cash Venture Prize to the best pitch, providing the winner with the opportunity to start a sustainable for-profit business.
Competitors receive valuable feedback from industry professionals and venture capitalists, and the event attracts thought leaders from a wide range of backgrounds and organizations. Audience members are also given the chance to vote on their favorite idea, with the most popular receiving the Audience Prize.
This year’s Venture Prize winner was Weave, an online social referral platform for energy efficiency programs and services. Weave provides incentives for current customers to encourage their friends to purchase efficiency products, helping to improve adoption rates of energy efficiency retrofits in residential and small commercial markets. The company was cofounded by two Yale 2012 graduates, Max Webster and Sherwin Yu. The 2013 Audience Prize winner was Electric Currency, another startup working to simplify energy efficiency retrofits by selling bundled electric power and home upgrades.
Rivanna has been providing the physical awards for this program since its inauguration in 2009. We’re thrilled to be part of an event that encourages fresh thinking about how for-profit businesses can create positive change. This idea fuels the B Corporation movement and promises to make a lasting difference in our world, so what better place to start than in school? Programs like the Sabin Sustainable Venture Prize are cropping up in schools across the country, inspiring a generation of thoughtful, revolutionary business leaders. We couldn’t be more excited to see them succeed!
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