FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Miami-Based Wind & Rain, Inc. Wins Harvard Business School AASU Entrepreneurial Ventures Competition.
CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts - Wind & Rain, Inc., a Miami-based affordable housing solutions provider, emerged as both the Social Enterprise and Overall Grand Prize Winner of the second annual Harvard Business School's AASU Entrepreneurial Ventures Competition. The business plan for Wind & Rain, Inc. describes a company that fosters urban development by facilitating homeownership solutions for low-to-moderate income families (see www.windandrain.com). Wind & Rain was awarded a prize of $10,000 at the closing banquet of the 29th Annual Career/Alumni Conference. Andy Louis-Charles, Vice-President of Business Development, represented Wind & Rain.
"Wind & Rain was created in order to prove that private sector involvement in creating affordable homeownership solutions in impoverished neighborhoods could be attractive both fiscally and socially. While many public and non-profit outreach efforts to low-income and minority renters have helped extend homeownership opportunities, the 40% plus difference in homeownership between high and low income families can be greatly reduced with the help of innovative private companies that understand both the social and market opportunities," said Louis-Charles.
The competition was conducted across three categories: Healthcare, Internet/Information Technology ("IT"), Social Enterprise. A winner was selected from each category and the overall winner was presented the cash award of $10,000. In IT the winner was Lambda Networks, a metro-loop optical networking company run by a renowned engineer from MIT and Corning. DarPharma, a drug development company that is in advanced trials of several drugs for paranoia and schizophrenia, was the Healthcare winner.
Hundreds of teams from across the country submitted business concepts to the 2001 Entrepreneurial Ventures Competition. That number was narrowed to nine finalists who competed for the grand prize award. Hundreds of venture capitalists, investment bankers, philanthropists, politicians, attorneys, and business school students gathered to hear the finalists present their business plans and participate in related workshops at the three day conference.
The finalists presented their business plans to a panel of judges that included Harvard professors, entrepreneurs, investment bankers, and venture capitalists: Dr. James E. Austin, Harvard Business School Professor; Valerie S. Brown, Principle - TL Ventures; Kelly Fitzsimmons, Partner & Co-Founder - New Profits, Inc.; Rahsaan Harris, Executive Director - Playing2Win; Roszell Mack III, Founding Partner - Ascend Venture Group; Ronald Mitchell, General Partner - Provender Opportunities Fund; Barbara J. Paige, Vice-President - Enron Investment Partners; Lisa Tatum, Partner - Cardinal Partners; Alex Washington, Senior Associate, Whitney & Co.; Darrell A. Williams, Chief Investment Officer - Telecommunications Development Fund.
Lead sponsors of the Entrepreneurial Ventures Competition include the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and Cardinal Health Partners. In addition, the overall conference was supported by business sponsors, including but not limited to: Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Accenture, Sprint, Reuters, Microsoft, Deloitte & Touche, John Hancock, Booz Allen & Hamilton, JP Morgan Chase, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
The Entrepreneurial Ventures Competition was designed to provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to present business plans before a panel of judges comprised of leading venture capital professionals. In addition to a cash award, finalists had the opportunity to develop valuable contacts with venture capital firms and other entrepreneurs, gain visibility at a premier business conference, and potentially secure seed financing for their venture.
"While we are looking to grow Wind & Rain, we are seeking strategic partners and angel investors who are interested in the social return on investment as much as the actual monetary return. We believe that there is a huge market opportunity for our model, but we must be careful who we accept funding from because we will not allow the integrity of our model to be compromised. Not only are we looking for smart capital, but we are especially interested in conscious capital," adds Louis-Charles.
Plans were judged based upon their likelihood of actually becoming the basis of a viable business or enterprise. Specific evaluation criteria included creativity, value creation potential of the business concept, quality, and appropriateness of the business/enterprise strategy, assessment of management team capabilities and financial plausibility.
For more information on Harvard Business School's AASU Entrepreneurial Ventures Competition visit <http://sa.hbs.edu/aasu/conference_entrepreneurial_ventures.htm>
For more information on Wind & Rain, Inc., visit <www.windandrain.com>
About Wind & Rain
Wind & Rain Properties, Inc. helps create value and community in urban neighborhoods by providing homeownership solutions. Wind & Rain's mission is to create, direct, and participate in the rapid real property appreciation, both residential and commercial, that occurs when new homes for ownership are developed in select urban infill communities.