2016 Annual Gathering – Prizes

2016 Prizes

Our generous partners have offered a collection of cash prizes and in-kind services to the top performers of the Sustainable Business Plan Collaboration.

$25K to Clean Energy Companies

The MCN is partnering with The 11th Hour Project to provide $25,000 worth of prizes to the top clean energy companies in this year’s Sustainable Business Plan Collaboration program.

For the purposes of these prizes Clean Energy is defined as energy that comes from the responsible usage of renewable resources such as solar, wind, and water.

We are interested in advancing renewable energy adoption for multiple reasons: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our power and transportation sectors, to achieve better health outcomes because of lowered air, water, and land pollution, to encourage responsible relationships with natural resources, and to support community energy resilience.

The 11th Hour Project’s Renewable Energy & Climate program has a goal of transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2030 and supports renewable energy solutions that are distributed and small to mid-scale. We believe that it is not only important to promote renewables over fossil fuels but also to ensure that these renewables help us move away from our current centralized system of energy production, distribution, and ownership.

The 11th Hour Project is the grant-making arm of The Schmidt Family Foundation, established by Eric and Wendy Schmidt in 2006. The 11th Hour is committed to reducing reliance on fossil fuels and promoting the adoption of renewable energy options.

Top performers from the Spring, Summer, and Fall Cohorts of the 2016 Sustainable Business Plan Collaboration Program will be eligible for this prize.

For more information, visit www.11thhourproject.org.

The Foundation for a Sustainable Future Richard Heinberg Prizes

The Foundation for a Sustainable Future provides three cash prizes ($2,000, $1,000, and $500) in honor of Richard Heinberg, an American journalist and educator who has written extensively on energy, economic, and ecological issues, including oil depletion. He is the author of twelve books. He serves as the senior fellow at the Post Carbon Institute.

Successful applicants for these prizes will have detailed the sustainability benefits resulting from their project, such as climate change mitigation, energy efficiency, beneficial materials (toxicity, efficiency, renewables, etc.), clean-tech, water security, to name just a few. Discuss the metrics by which these benefits could be quantified.

All companies competing in the Spring and Summer Cohorts of the Sustainable Business Plan Collaboration Program are eligible for these prizes. 2016 Applicants to the Fall Cohort (August 3rd deadline) will be considered part of the 2017 program. 

The Chuck Dell / William James Prize Pool

(Cash and Professional Services)

Charles E. Dell has been a great supporter of the Mentor Capital Network since he co-founded it as the William James Foundation in 2002 along with John Nelson. We thank him for his ongoing support of our work and commitment to strengthening the global network of social entrepreneurship. Click here to learn more about our founders.

In his honor, $5,000 will be divided among the finalists of the Spring and Summer rounds of our 2016 Sustainable Business Plan Collaboration. Applicants to the Fall Cohort (August 3rd deadline) will be considered part of the 2017 program.

This prize pool below is open to finalists as well as honorable mention teams, and includes all of our in-kind/professional service prizes.

IT Guidance and Advisory Services


“Building Relationships Beyond Legal Counsel”

Cogent Law Group LLP:  (www.cogentlaw.co) Cogent Law has attorneys who are not only legally well-versed, but have extensive business experience, including founding and running their own companies. Given the successful, diverse backgrounds of the Cogent team, value beyond legal counsel is offered through the potential to connect clients with advisors, investors, and customers. Cogent Law is a full-service business law firm serving the Washington, DC community and beyond. Cogent represents a number of startup and established businesses, advising on such matters as commercial transactions, intellectual property, securities, regulatory compliance, real estate and litigation.

IN-KIND PRIZES: Three finalists are each invited to choose from one of the following: (1) LLC Formation Package – includes filing of articles of organization and preparation of an LLC Operating Agreement, (2) Trademark Package – includes search, opinion and filing of application for one trademark in one class or (3) five hours of commercial contract review. Each option has a value of $1750.


Community IT (http://www.communityit.com/) serves non-profits, associations and socially responsible businesses. They combine technology expertise with unsurpassed service to more than 900 organizations, both locally and nationally, since 1993. Community IT offers clients support for their network infrastructure and technology planning needs. For top performers of the 2016 WJF Sustainable Business Plan Collaboration, Community IT is donating 12 hours of either general IT advisory services, or guidance and advisory services around setting up technology for a start-up, to two companies. This could be local (Washington, DC) or virtual (worldwide). Each prize is worth $1,200.

Lee Boyle will provide six hours of his consulting time to help prepare the winning recipient for a traditional bank loan. Help can include reviewing and advising on a business plan, explaining traditional bank loan terms and application requirements, as well as explaining SBA-guaranteed loan terms and requirements. Lee also has a good network of local professionals such as attorneys and CPAs that he can refer if needed. This prize is valued at $2000.


Eco-Coach, Inc. (www.eco-coach.com) is a Washington, DC based environmental sustainability consulting firm that assists leading organizations to evaluate, design, and implement sustainable practices for long-term organizational success and positive environmental and social impact. You will receive up to 10 hours of support to help your company be more eco-friendly and decrease its carbon footprint.

Margarita Rozenfeld is the Founder and CEO of Incite International, an award-winning organizational and leadership development company and of YES!Circle, a networking and educational organization for entrepreneurs. She is also the host of Leadership Insights, an interview-style podcast for leaders, thinkers and entrepreneurs. For more information visit www.inciteinternational.com. Margarita is donating a month of business or executive coaching to support this year’s top companies. This prize is valued at $900.


Shifting Patterns Consulting (www.shifting-patterns.com) facilitates social change by working alongside networks that increase civic engagement and hasten the transition to a sustainable economy. Shifting Patterns is pleased to offer a short-term consulting assignment that includes a consultation session to explore the challenges your business is facing in connecting and engaging the people you work with and the communities you serve in collaborative action. This prize also includes support over a period of 2-3 months for addressing a specific collaboration challenge, such as getting everyone to rally around the same goals, creating channels for people to join and participate, and retaining participants over the longer-term.

Strategic Sustainability Consulting (www.sustainabilityconsulting.com/) provides organizations with the tools and expertise they need to actively manage their social and environmental impacts. They specialize in helping small and medium size organizations implement sustainable solutions usually reserved for larger companies. Strategic Sustainability Consulting (SSC) is offering a prize-winning team 15 hours of strategic advice. This prize is appropriate for all teams, with the understanding that all support is done remotely via phone, email, Skype, etc. The winning team should expect to spend an hour on the phone with the SSC team within two weeks of receiving this prize, so that we can decide how best to utilize the hours allocated.