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Business Another Way of Doing Business

What Is the SPU Social Venture Plan Competition?

By Reece Carson (

Started by Seattle Pacific University's School of Business and Economics in 2007 as a way to teach students about entrepreneurship, the Social Venture Plan Competition challenges students to develop business ventures that can be profitable and address social needs at the same time.

Students from all majors are encouraged to participate.

"That's the beauty of the event," says Don Summers, a clinical instructor in SBE who coordinates the competition. "We really like to have non-business majors bring in their own perspectives. Most entrepreneurs are not business students. They're people interested or passionate in an area who start a company."

Eighty-five members of Seattle's business community served as judges for the $2,500 grand prize, the $1,500 runner-up Pioneer award, and four $1,000 honorable mention prizes. More than 500 staff, faculty, community members, and students attended and voted for the additional $500 People's Choice award.

Thanks to generous funding by the Herbert Jones Foundation and Scott and Kathleen Cummins of the Cummins Foundation, the competition has grown into a showpiece event that this year drew 31 student teams — including teams from Seattle Pacific, Northwest University, and Issaquah High School.