Judging Criteria

GSVC entrants are evaluated by judges who are thought-leaders in the social enterprise space, including impact investors, social entrepreneurs, and leading experts in international development and venture philanthropy. Judges evaluate GSVC entrants in three equally weighted areas to determine a venture’s overall score.

Business Potential

Winning ventures link a clearly defined social problem with a compelling economic opportunity. Ventures should be designed to fit a specific market and should reflect a deep understanding of a core customer and other key stakeholders. In addition to generating social impact, ventures should be financially feasible, fundable, and scalable.


  • Venture addresses a clearly defined social problem
  • Venture operates in a market in which there is compelling economic opportunity
  • Venture is designed for a well-defined customer and reflects a deep understanding of other key stakeholders (beneficiaries, partners, employees, investors)


  • Venture offers a clear value proposition(s) to its customer and other key stakeholders
  • Venture has sustainable, defensible sources of competitive advantage
  • Product or service is innovative and fits the target market
  • Product or service has a clear value chain and roadmap

Financial Impact

  • Financial projections are based on clear and reasonable assumptions
  • Venture has strong revenue model that shows clear understanding of key cost drivers, revenue streams
  • Venture has attractive unit economics and margins
Social Impact Potential

Winning ventures design business models that integrate social and financial impact. The Social Impact Assessment is a key indicator of a venture’s potential to generate positive social returns beyond the status quo.

Social Impact Value Proposition

  • Venture addresses a clearly defined social challenge
  • Venture makes a clear case for why the social challenge is important
  • Venture is supported by a well-articulated theory of change and impact value chain
  • Social impact is integrated in the business model: impact scales as company grows
  • Venture generates social value above and beyond current state or next best available option
  • Social impact projections are based on reasonable assumptions and credible data
  • Venture has a longer term vision for social impact beyond the immediate challenge

Social Impact Implementation

  • Venture has a realistic plan to address the identified social challenge through the selected business model
  • Team has selected appropriate social impact metrics that align with the intended impact the venture has articulated
  • Team has designed a clear and feasible plan for measuring and evaluating social impact
Likelihood of Success

Winning ventures are made possible by winning teams, and ideas are only as good as their execution. A venture’s business and social impact potential depend on the team that stands behind it, and that team’s ability to carry it forward.


  • Venture has a clearly defined vision and growth objectives
  • Plan includes a coherent and convincing go-to-market strategy*
  • Team has a clear execution plan and is prepared to address potential risks*

Organizational Fit

  • Venture’s core values support its vision and desired outcomes
  • Venture’s legal form (e.g. for-profit, non-profit etc.) supports its vision and desired outcomes

Quality of Team

  • Members are passionate, committed, and resourceful
  • Team is balanced, with relevant and diverse domain & industry experience
  • Team has built valuable relationships with advisors, mentors
  • Presentation is professional, persuasive, and organized*

*Not relevant for Round One Submissions.