Interpretation of SAGE Judging Criteria for SRBs

The primary purpose of an SRB is to make a profit; a secondary purpose might be to solve a social problem. Judges will evaluate how successful was the SAGE team in creating and implementing one NEW enterprise this year or CONTINUING a SAGE enterprise from prior years.

Teams that enter the Socially-responsible Business (SRB) tournament should do their best to meet the following five judging criteria:

Socially-Responsible Business (SRB) Judging Criteria Written Annual Report Oral Presentation
  1. How innovative and creative is the business? Does this business have features which few, if any, other businesses have, which add to the success of the business?
10 10
  1. What is the amount of profit of the business (e.g., has it achieved profitability through earned income? Or has it defined a believable path toward profitability)?
10 10
  1. Has the business exhibited sustainable business practices? Does the business meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs? Has the SAGE team understood the importance of being responsible stewards of the environment in a market economy, either through its products or services, or by its actions in the community?
10 10
  1. Is there evidence that the business has a succession plan in place?  In other words, has the team demonstrated that the business continue after the current year? Will the team carry on over the summer, winter and spring?
5 5
  1. How effective was the SAGE team in utilizing mass media and social media to publicize its activities and enhance the visibility of SAGE (e.g., newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, billboards, newsletters, a website devoted to their SAGE business; Facebook)? Note: teams may insert samples, such as newspaper articles, with their annual report.
5 5
TOTAL POSSIBLE POINTS 40 40
How effective were the students in their responses to judges’ questions duringthe Q and A period?                                                                                                               20

Criterion #1 (20 points)

How innovative and creative is the business? Does this business have features which few, if any, other businesses have, which add to the success of the business?

Note: This criterion is worth 20 points total: 10 for written annual report and 10 for oral presentation.

Interpretation:

Our definition of entrepreneurship is the act of undertaking something new by creating a product or service, or a new process to deliver a product or service, in a way that adds value to society. To be financially sustainable, the entity created by the entrepreneur must generate earned income through the sale of goods or services. In other words, its primary emphasis is to make a profit.

Entrepreneurs break new ground; they develop new models and pioneer new approaches. Entrepreneurship does not require inventing something new; it can simply involve applying an existing idea in a new way or to a new situation. It is not just a one-time burst of creativity. It is a continuous process of exploring, learning, and improving.

What is most important is that students show that they have applied their entrepreneurship knowledge to complete an actual business. Teams have been known to be judged favorably if they indicate that they have a completed, written business plan prior to starting their business. Part of this business plan should be a marketing plan for their business enterprise. To show that they have successfully applied their knowledge and skills, the best SAGE teams will have a completed set of financial statements summarizing profits and losses for a period, and providing a balance sheet and perhaps even a cash flow statement, for their SRB.

There are thousands of good examples of a socially-responsible business. One such example is Sierra Nevada Brewing Company of Chico, CA, founded by SAGE sponsor Ken Grossman and his family.

Sample Web Sites:

Sample Businesses:

One SAGE team specialized in sewing, fabrics and design, and it created a designer handbag company. Another team started a new health food café to address growing concerns that too much unhealthy, fast-food was being sold on campus, with no healthy alternatives. They wrote a business plan, obtained funding, and got permission from school administrators to launch their new venture. Another SAGE team launched a four-color magazine featuring success stories of leading entrepreneurs in their city.

Criterion #2 (20 points)

What is the amount of profit of the business (e.g., has it achieved profitability through earned income? Or has it defined a believable path toward profitability)?

Note: This criterion is worth 20 points total: 10 for written annual report and 10 for oral presentation.

Interpretation:

A for-profit business measures the value it creates primarily through the financial bottom line, otherwise known as net income, profit, or earnings.

SRB teams should include an income statement in its presentation. The income statement, also known as a profit and loss statement (P&L), shows the revenues generated by the business less the expenses incurred. Many businesses do not earn a profit in the first year; in fact, many incur losses until it builds a solid customer base and reputation. For SAGE teams that have not earned any profits in their first year, it is necessary that they convince the judges that they have a clear path toward profitability based on realistic projections.

Criterion #3 (20 Points)

Has the business exhibited sustainable business practices? Does the business meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs? Has the SAGE team understood the importance of being responsible stewards of the environment in a market economy, either through its products or services, or by its actions in the community?

Note: This criterion is worth 20 points total: 10 for written annual report and 10 for oral presentation.

Interpretation:

We want SRBs to create positive social change indirectly through the practice of social responsibility by adopting sustainable business practices. Examples include paying equitable wages to their employees; using environmentally friendly raw materials; providing volunteers to help with community projects; and so on. When companies explicitly use their skills to make innovations work for the disenfranchised and for the environment, this is what Bill Gates calls “creative capitalism.” Gates also said, “Businesses that do good work will find it easier to recruit and retain great employees. Young people today—all over the world—want to work for organizations that they can feel good about. Show them that a company is applying its expertise to help the poorest, and they will repay that commitment with their own dedication.” (“How to Fix Capitalism,” Business Week, August 11, 2008, p. 44).

We subscribe to the definition of social responsibility based on the following description as taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_social_responsibility:

Corporate social responsibility (CSR), also known as corporate responsibility, corporate citizenship, responsible business, sustainable responsible business, or corporate social performance, is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. Ideally, CSR policy would function as a built-in, self-regulating mechanism whereby business would monitor and ensure its support to law, ethical standards, and international norms. Consequently, business would embrace responsibility for the impact of its activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities, stakeholders and all other members of the public sphere. Furthermore, CSR-focused businesses would proactively promote the public interest by encouraging community growth and development, and voluntarily eliminating practices that harm the public sphere, regardless of legality. Essentially, CSR is the deliberate inclusion of public interest into corporate decision-making, and the honoring of a triple bottom line: People, Planet, Profit.

Socially-responsible businesses adopt strategies that provide a balance between economic success and environmental sustainability/restoration. As businessman and author Paul Hawken said in his 1993 book, The Ecology of Commerce: “The ultimate purpose of business is not, or should not be, simply to make money. Nor is it merely a system of making and selling things. The promise of business is to increase the general well-being of humankind through service, a creative invention and ethical philosophy.” Hawken argues that businesses and policymakers need to work together to find an “ecological model of commerce” so that everything that is produced can be reclaimed, reused, or recycled. As business transactions increasingly move beyond local and national borders, companies must be careful to consider both the economic and ecologic effects of its activities on all stakeholders.

SAGE judges will scrutinize the SRB of each team to determine how well it has considered, and learned, the importance of this fine balance between personal economic goals and ecologic stability in the global community.

Sample Web Sites:

Criterion #4 (10 Points)

Is there evidence that the business has a succession plan in place?  In other words, has the team demonstrated that the business will continue after the current year? Will the team carry on over the summer, winter and spring? Is there a chance that this organization’s effectiveness can be expanded locally and replicated in new settings?

Note: This criterion is worth 10 points total: 5 for written annual report and 5 for oral presentation.

Interpretation:

Most school projects and activities end with a final exam, a term paper or a field trip. However, businesses don’t end according to a calendar. They end when the market tells them that they can no longer operate profitably, or the owners call it quits and dissolve the business.

We don’t want SAGE students to consider our program “just another school activity.” We want students to treat their business like any other business owner would. That is, they will do their best to see that the business remains as a going concern. For this reason, we have created a special judging criterion to provide an incentive for a SAGE team to continue its programs after the school year. Moreover, we also want the best businesses to expand to other markets and, perhaps, be replicated by other businesses.

For those businesses that do not plan to continue, it is necessary that the SAGE team explain its exit strategy. Exit strategies are typically prepared well in advance of implementation, which can occur for both positive and negative reasons.

Criterion #5 (10 Points)

How effective was the SAGE team in utilizing mass media and social media to publicize its activities and enhance the visibility of SAGE (e.g., newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, billboards, newsletters, a website devoted to their SAGE business; Facebook)? Note: teams may insert samples, such as newspaper articles, with their annual report.

Note: This criterion is worth 10 points total: 5 for written annual report and 5 for oral presentation.

Interpretation:

The purpose of this judging criterion is to encourage the SAGE team to utilize all media resources available in their community to advance their business and to enhance the visibility of SAGE. One of the most effective ways to demonstrate the effectiveness of your business is to utilize available media outlets to create awareness of your achievements. SAGE teams are encouraged to use local and regional newspapers, network television, local and regional radio, high school publications, SAGE newsletters, routinely updated web pages, billboards, fliers, display booths, bulletin boards and Facebook. Some SAGE teams may even produce a documentary about their SAGE team’s business activities and air it on public-access television.

In meeting this criterion, SAGE teams should adhere to the following media language:

Reach: Estimated number of unduplicated or different households or persons that viewed a specific station at least once for five minutes during the average week for the reported period of time. For print media that equals circulation.

Frequency: The average number of times the unduplicated viewers (or readers) will be exposed to the schedule of spots.

Gross Impressions: The average number of persons that view (or read) at the time the spot is run multiplied by the number of times the spot or program is run.

Sample Projects:

Recruit one or two SAGE students to be your “public relations” arm, and have them work with your school’s English and/or yearbook teacher  to learn how to write a good press release. Develop a relationship with the business editor of the local newspaper. Always take good photos of your best projects, and include one or two photos with your press release.

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One comment on “Interpretation of SAGE Judging Criteria for SRBs
  1. […] To see a detailed explanation of each SAGE criterion, go to Interpretation of SAGE Judging Criteria – Socially-Responsible Business (SRB). […]

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