Alumni Clubs & Associations


2011-2012 HBS Alumni New Venture Contest and Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship Announced

~ Important Highlights for Participating Clubs ~


Alumni New Venture Contest Documents:

• 2011-2012 Contest Team Registration Form (.docx)
2011-2012 Guidelines for Plan Submission (.pdf)
2011-2012 Judges Evaluation Sheet (.pdf)
2011-2012 Summary Scoring Sheet (.pdf)

Rock Center Summary Contest Information: This is a key link that includes this year's information and should be contained in all communications: 


Alumni Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship Information:



HBS Alumni Clubs, in partnership with the School’s Rock Center for Entrepreneurship and the Social Enterprise Initiative, is pleased to launch this year’s Alumni New Venture Contest (“NVC” or the “Contest”) and to solicit interest in and applications to the alumni Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship (the “Fellowship”). 

With over half of HBS alumni classifying themselves as entrepreneurs at some point in their lives and a growing number of alumni committed to social ventures, the Contest and the Fellowship are designed to spur lifelong innovation and engagement in partnership with the School via the 100+ member HBS global Clubs network. 

Clubs will offer programming events, networking and other key activities supporting promising Contest business venture plan submissions and enhanced Fellowship marketing efforts.

Regional judging finals for NVC participants will be held by Hub Clubs worldwide in early 2012, with these NVC and Fellowship winners coming to the School’s campus to participate in the HBS Finals on April 23-24, 2012.  At that event, the 2012 Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship winner will be announced and receive a $25,000 cash award.  Judges will also select the 2012 New Venture Contest’s $50,000 cash Grand Prize and $25,000 cash Second Place Prize winning teams.   


2011-12 NVC Regions 

For 2012, the contest will be led by the following 12 regional Hub Clubs, who will coordinate participation with HBS, all Clubs in their areas and interested applicants, though applicants may submit plans into any region worldwide:

• Africa (South Africa);
• Asia-Pacific (Shanghai);
• Canada (Toronto);
• Europe (Germany);
• Latin America (Brazil);
• Mid-Atlantic U.S. (New York & Washington, D.C.);
• Midwestern U.S. (Chicago);
• New England (Boston);
• Northwestern U.S./Northern California (Northern California);
• Southeast Asia (India);
• Southeastern/Southern U.S. (Atlanta); and
• Southwestern U.S./Southern California (Orange County, San Diego & Southern California). 

A few additional Hub Clubs may also participate in the Contest.

With guidelines established and monitored by the HBS Rock Center, these Clubs will conduct initial rounds of regional contests to select one team to send to HBS in April 2012.  On Monday, April 23rd, the finalist Contest teams will present their plans to a panel of judges at HBS who will select the 2012 Alumni NVC winner. That evening, HBS will host a gala dinner for all finalists, Contest leads, Fellowship winners and others engaged in the School’s venture community with Dean Nohria and additional HBS faculty, celebrating alumni innovation and entrepreneurship. 

While on campus, all Contest finalists will participate in educational, mentoring, media, and networking sessions, and the winners will be invited to present a brief summary of their plans at a School-wide awards ceremony the following day, April 24th, in conjunction with the student business and social venture contests.


Timeline and Key Dates

An important objective is to have regional Contest winners named by March 15, 2012, so that they and the School can plan ahead for the April 23-24, 2012 Finals.

• November, 2011:  Participating Hub Clubs and HBS announce the 2011-12 Alumni NVC and Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship.

• November, 2011 through January, 2012: Clubs and HBS will continue to promote the Contest and Fellowship, form Contest judging  panels, secure partners (sponsorships, etc.) and offer related programming.   

• By February 29, 2012: Hub Clubs should have NVC Contest entrants registered in advance of their finals events/judging process —e.g., participants having expressed the intent to submit a business plan and/or submitted plans-- so that Clubs will know the number and general types of plans they need to judge and can organize accordingly. 

Since participants may not want to disclose their interest/pay the registration fee until they are relatively certain they will participate, you may want to have the registration/plan submission dates be close and/or the same, but it is strongly recommended that you then allow for sufficient time (e.g., a minimum of two weeks) between those  dates and the March 15, 2012 finals event/judging completion deadline.

• February – March, 15, 2012:  Clubs will conduct judging process and regional finals events. By March 15, 2011, each region must notify HBS of their winning NVC team and submit that team's current business plan to both the Rock Center (Professor Mike Roberts’ attention:,  and to HBS Alumni Clubs (Cathy Josman’s attention:  International Clubs should consider accelerating their timeline to accommodate visa applicatins, travel arrangements, and etc.

• April 23 – 24, 2012Regional winners travel to HBS for Finals presentations and awards ceremony.  Attendees traveling some distance should plan to arrive Sunday evening, April 22nd and depart Wednesday, April 25th, as Monday and Tuesday will offer a full agenda of events and activities, from morning through evening. 


General Club Requirements

• Each participating Hub Club must designate an NVC "Lead" and committee (of at least two additional members) to run the contest. The Lead will be the primary liaison to HBS.

• The Club must adhere to all timelines, guidelines and informational requests from HBS.


Regional Club Contests Details

1) The Club understands that all expenses associated with the Contest and travel by the winning team (other than as detailed below as “HBS Covered Expenses”) must be covered by the Club.  Clubs should specify that they will pay the lesser of actual travel costs from outside the region to Boston OR the travel cost as if the team had left from the “home region” for any winning team that is outside the Club's region. 

2) HBS Covered Expenses: This year, the School is delighted to be able to fund the Fellowship winner’s and one regional NVC team member’s economy roundtrip airfare to the campus Finals.  The tickets must be booked by April 1, 2012 and are subject to the same non-regional participant criteria above.  While on campus, NVC finalists, NVC Leads and Fellowship winners’ meals and lodging are covered by the School.

3) Clubs should charge a $100 U.S. (or foreign equivalent) entry fee per team PLUS the cost of one-year Club memberships --- if the team’s HBS alumni are not yet members and the Club charges dues.

4) Clubs may solicit local sponsorship/partnerships to underwrite regional contests and activities – e.g., travel expenses, event costs, local $ cash prize pool, in-kind support, etc.  We realize the importance of giving you the flexibility to manage this locally, as long as the sponsorships are for local Club (not HBS) activities and adhere to the HBS Club Partnership Guidelines available here:

5) Clubs may also have multiple awardees (e.g., gold /silver /bronze awards, etc.)  However, the Hub Club may only designate and send one team to represent the region at the HBS Finals in April, 2012.


HBS Campus Finals

A. All regional winning teams are required to be on campus in time to make a presentation to judges on Monday, April 23, 2012.  It is not necessary that the entire “team” be present, but at least one HBS alumnus/a must be among a minimum of two presenters.  Note that mentoring and educational sessions with HBS faculty and the HBS Angels Alumni Association ( are offered to finalists during the month of April, leading up to the Finals events. 

B. In addition, all NVC teams and the Fellowship winner must plan to stay over the evening of Monday, April 23, 2012 to attend an awards dinner led by Dean Nohria, where the NVC First and Second Place teams and the Fellowship winner will be announced.  Please book travel leaving HBS after 8pm EST on Tuesday, April 24, to participate in the student business and social venture contest finals.  The Fellowship winner and First and Second Place NVC teams will briefly present at the student contest finals late that afternoon and all NVC finalists.  Other Fellowship winners and NVC Leads are also cordially invited to attend and participate in related School and HBS Angels Alumni Association networking events. 


NVC Entry Requirements

In order to ensure as much of a level playing field as possible, we require that the NVC teams genuinely include HBS alumni and are truly new ventures, as opposed to on-going operations

If you have any questions regarding these requirements, please contact Professor Mike Roberts at:

a) Each team must have at least one HBS alumnus/a member.  The HBS alumnus/a needs to be a substantive member of the founding team, with a senior management and operating position, and  participation in the company’s equity pool in a manner consistent with that role and position. 

b) Participating teams may not have more than $1,000,000 in total debt and invested equity capital, and must have less than $2,000,000 in revenues.  Teams must meet both criteria. Invested capital is defined as funding appearing on the plan’s balance sheet at the time of submission to the regional Hub Club, which is no later than February 29, 2012.  It is not necessary that the teams actually be seeking funding—e.g., they may already have raised the small amount of capital they need to reach an initial milestone-- or may have a cash flow positive business model that essentially requires no outside capital. 


NVC Plan Submissions

Hub Clubs should determine their regional deadlines and timing of plan submission, but all business plans submitted should, at a minimum, clearly articulate the following:

I.    The team members, their roles and backgrounds;

II.   The product or service, the customer needs it meets, and the market it will serve;

III.  The “Business Model,” e.g., how  the company makes money; and

IV.  Income statement, balance sheet and cash flow forecasts for at least three years, including a clear articulation of funding needs, the anticipated timing of funding events, and how these relate to the entity’s accomplishment milestones (e.g., what exactly will you achieve with each round of capital funding.)  Note that the financing term specifics need NOT be articulated.

NVC Judging Process and Guidelines

A. Each region should form a panel of judges. Clubs should build rosters of judges from the local venture capital/angel investing/entrepreneur community.  A panel of ~10 judges would be ideal, for example, to judge 15-20 submissions. The panel could review initial paper/online plans for this larger group and then select 4-8 plans to make 20-30 minute follow-up pitches to the panel. Or some Clubs may wish to host more live presentations (in-person or remotely), which will likely require additional judges.  The exact format is up to the Clubs.

B. All Clubs should utilize the same criteria.  The basic criterion is “fundamental investment attractiveness.”  While the paper plan and presentation are elements of the soundness and quality of the group’s preparation, it is ultimately the judges’ collective assessment of the team’s ability to execute, the likelihood of success, and the potential magnitude of that success-- if indeed it is achieved-- that are the final criteria. 

C. In general, Clubs may determine their own preferred judging process, consistent with the Contest’s guidelines and with the number of plans submitted.  Whatever the final approach used, it should facilitate the matching of appropriate judging resources to plan submitted well enough in advance of the actual judging to ensure that a pool of judges commensurate with the task can be assembled. 


NVC Judging Panels

It is critical to recruit a strong set of judges for the regional panels.  The size and composition of the panel will vary based on the number and types of plan submissions.  They should be:

• People who have some industry expertise in the industries in which the plans are being presented.  This is why advance registration should be used by Clubs (e.g., getting potential participants to express their “intent” to submit a plan) is key – it lets you know which industries you need to cover; and

• People with experience investing in businesses at this earlier stage of development.  Participating judges, however, need not be limited to angel-stage investors.  VCs often invest in somewhat larger enterprises, they tend to have broad industry experience and the ability to make complex trade-offs among the many ingredients in early-stage business plans that can ultimately contribute to success.


Marketing and Promotion

Clubs should advertise/market the NVC and Fellowship broadly to all HBS alumni in their region, with no discrimination toward non-members.  Indeed, the Contest is intended to incent membership and overall engagement with the Club.  Supporting information will also be available on the Rock and Social Enterprise Initiative’s websites. 

Email/branding and other templates to be used by the Clubs for the NVC and Fellowship, as well as some additional marketing/communications support to Club-generated activities will be supplemented by the School.



• Clubs are encouraged to develop a suite of programming around the NVC Contest, including events (e.g., open sessions for participants and non-participants alike), networking opportunities, informational outreach and related activities.

• The School we will be hosting three webinars between December and February on topics related to entrepreneurial ventures, by experts in the field.  Clubs are strongly encouraged to share with all alumni in their region the following link containing the existing library of NVC webinars (an offering that began last year) on start-up basics (e.g., developing a business plan, pitching to investors, etc.) led by HBS faculty and entrepreneurs-in-residence:

• Clubs should also consider developing a regional finals event centered around the judging and announcement of the region’s winning team.  As part of this planning (and the overall process), Clubs should take into account confidentiality issues that teams may face at this stage in their venture's development. For example, you should determine whether you will run closed or open judging sessions and how you will approach any public presentations—which can often be much shorter and not contain any “secret sauce” elements of the venture.


Other Resources

The Rock Center web site offers invaluable information to help NVC contestants including a number of resources on crafting business plans:

Social Enterprise Fellowship applicants can also find additional resources on the SEI website:

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