Sustainable Tech Business Plans


Sustainability is profitable. Corporations committed to sustainability have a superior profit record, and increasing investor interest. Sustainable index funds are a fast rising sector of the overall investment market. It is a favorite sector for venture capital.


FSF sponsors top business schools from around the world to send teams to submit business plans for vetting by a an experienced group of venture capitalists and experts, at an established Business Plan Competition, to compete for cash prizes and practical assistance in realizing their scalable business plans which have a measurable benefit to global sustainability.

FSF Competition Judging Template (Rev Dec 19, 2007)

Examples of Business Projects that Increase Global Sustainability:

Partner Invitation:

Foundation for a Sustainable Future (FSF) partners with leading progressive organizations and universities which hold business plan competitions, to sponsor prizes for replicable and scalable business projects that would increase global sustainability. Please contact us if you are interested in adding a Sustainable Technology Venture Prize to your existing Business Plan Competition.

Business Plan Format:

There are many possible business plan formats. Please choose one that works for your project, and also is brief, to the point, and contains enough information to judge the merits of your proposal. It should be geared towards a venture capitalist to whom you are pitching your proposal for funding.

Please make sure you address the various aspects. For a guide, see:
Sample Business Plan Format
Tactics and strategy in presenting Business Plans (video)

The Sustainability Impact

Describe the impact of your business on global sustainability.
How would anyone know how much of an impact you have made?

Each plan will be evaluated for its sustainability benefits. Teams must submit a 3-5 page synopsis (in PDF-WORD-EXCEL) tabulating the sustainability benefits of the project, e.g. climate change mitigation, energy efficiency, beneficial materials (toxicity, efficiency, renewables etc), clean-tech, water security, species impacts, habitat preservation, etc. Contestants will have to discuss the metrics by which your project’s benefits are quantified, as a key part of the intellectual and analytical process of determining what sustainability entails. Quantify as much as possible and mention both short-term (1-2-3 years) and long-term (10 years) impacts..

Current Business School and Sustainable Technology Venture Partnerships

Carnegie-Mellon University / Tepper Business School / McGinnis Competition: Sustainable Tech Track: Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship at the Tepper School at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh PA has added a special Sustainable Technology Track for the third year, co-sponsored by FSF, to their prestigious McGinnis Venture Competition scheduled to be held March 11-13, 2010.

FSF is offering Travel Grants to eligible entrants from Africa, South America and Europe, click through to see details and for the application.

CMU Poster: Invitation to Participate Pictures from the 2007 competition, won by Peking University

McGinnis/Tepper Registration and Intent to Compete deadline: February 23, 2010
McGinnis/Tepper Plan Submission Deadline: March 2, 2010
McGinnis/Tepper competition, Pittsburgh USA: March 11-13, 2010
McGinnis/Tepper General Judging Criteria;
McGinnis/Tepper Additional Sustainability Judging Criteria
The Sustainability judging criteria include certain other benchmarks, such as decreasing demand for non-renewable resources, adding supply of renewable resources, reduction of greenhouse gases, removing toxins from the environment, increasing sustainability for non-human species, scalability/replicability etc.

FSF has partnered with Eureka! – the biggest Business Plan compeititon in Asia, now in its 10th year for “Cleantech Business Plans” . Eureka is the Entrepreneurship cell of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay. One of Eureka’s distinguishing features is the intensive mentoring that each team receives from induistry executives between submission of the executive summary and the selection of finalists.

* Rules
* Eligibility
* Submission Guidelines
* Schedule

Executive summaries are due on October 4, 2008, finalist selection on January 18, 2009, and live presentations on February 8, 2009.

The two winning teams will be awarded cash prizes of Rs. 1,00,000 and Rs. 70,000 respectively to enable them to travel to and compete in the Global competition at Carnegie-Mellon University for further prizes. To be eligible for the FSF prizes and to participate at the McGinnis Global competition at CMU , a team must include at least one MBA or management student at the Master’s level, and be registered for the CMU competition.

For any queries contact : Paras Jain [email protected]

Scoring template

— Sustainable Technology Business Plan Competition co-sponsored with the William James Foundation,

The qualification criteria for the FSF’s Richard Heinberg Prize are the same as they are for the William James Foundation. Detailed criteria can be found at

* Entries should be emailed to [email protected].
* Entries sent by email or online form must be readable by either Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF reader.
* The summaries should be between three and five pages plus up to a page that focuses specifically on sustainability. Your submission can be shorter, if concise. Longer entries for the first round are submitted at your own risk: verbosity will be marked against you.

Submit your first-round entry by Friday, December 12th, by 5pm Eastern time.

* You should learn if you are invited to our 2nd round on Friday, January 16th. Whether you make it to the 2nd round or not, you will receive feedback.
* If you are invited, the full plans must be submitted by 5pm Eastern Time on Friday, February 20th.

To be considered for the sustainability prize, you should go into great detail on Environmental sustainability benefits of your enterprise. Your detailed analysis of quantifiable and measurable sustainability benefits resulting from your business during the period covered by the business plan; for example an LED or fluorescent bulb company could calculate the reduction in CO2 emissions resulting from the reduced energy usage.

The 2008 Winners were:

1st Place: Biodiversity and Company
2nd Place: Green Pieces
3rd Place: Akan Energy

Entire list of finalists.

— We are pleased to announce the 3nd Annual Al Gore Sustainable Technology Venture Competition in partnership with IIFT, one of the most prestigious business schools in India, host of the Quo Vadis series. Teams of MBA and Master’s level management students in collaboration with technical and engineering students from India’s top-ranked academic institutions, mentored by their professors, will present their sustainable tech business plans, and compete for cash prizes, and the opportunity to represent their institution, and India, at the Tepper / McGinnis competition in Pittsburgh March 11-13, 2010.

Summaries of the entries will be made available on the web, to inspire others to replicate the projects.
For details from the IIFT website:

The finals will be held approx December 3-4, 2009 in New Delhi, to select the winners.
Judges of the contest will include national experts in their respective fields, including venture capitalists, angel investors and successful entrepreneurs
2008 Panel of Judges

For further information, please contact:
Prof. Ruppal Sharma at [email protected]
Soft copies of document to be sent to: [email protected]

FSF-IIFT Competition Judging Criteria

Important Dates:
Al Gore Competititon Abstract submission deadline: October 10, 2009
Al Gore Competition Complete Business Plan Application deadline: November 5, 2009
Al Gore Competition announcement of shortlist: November 20, 2009
Al Gore final team presentations at IIFT, New Delhi, India: approx December 3-4, 2008
Finalists should also note the Tepper competition deadlines and details above.
Please plan to meet the time and documentation needs for US visas/visit.

IIFT 2009 Invitation to Participate

IIFT 2008 Poster: Invitation to Participate

The concept of Sustainability addresses the critical issues of population growth, increases in per capita consumption, limited renewable and non-renewable resources, anthropocentric government laws and policies, externalities not being incorporated into economic and business models, human impacts on other species and ecological systems, etc.

For the purposes of these competitions, “sustainable technology” is defined as products or services using new or innovative technologies or processes to enhance the usability and effectiveness of renewable resources, lead to lower costs and waste, and measurably reduce adverse environmental impacts in product life cycles which might constrain future generations, ie projects that will increase sustainability on the planet.

Applications of “sustainable technology” are possible in many industry segments, such as energy, transportation, engineered materials and chemicals, climate change, transforming environmental toxics, to name just a few. These projects should be designed to ensure that the world continues to be livable for the indefinite future. Sustainable technology principles are the foundation of countless new entrepreneurial ventures by those interested in effecting changes in the social, political and economic paradigms needed for a sustainable future. FSF’s competitions catalyze this process.