On April 7th, the CU New Venture Challenge will host its championship round as five teams compete to win over $20,000 in cash and prizes. The New Venture Challenge is a cross-campus entrepreneurship competition that encourages University of Colorado students from every different school and department to team up with one another and build creative business plans. The teams draft pitches and business plans for their new venture ideas and then compete against each other to win cash and access to crucial mentoring opportunities.

The New Venture Challenge participants can compete along one of 6 different tracks with a variety of focuses. The tracks, each with their own separate prize, include the Information Technology track, the General Track, the Research and Development Track, the Performing Arts Track, the Social Impact Prize, and the Women Entrepreneur’s Prize. The winner from each track then competes in the championship, which is held next Thursday at the CU Law School.

It is particularly noteworthy that the organizers of the New Venture Challenge have decided to include a specific social impact prize as part of the competition. “The mission of the social impact prize,” they’ve said “is to demonstrate that social and environmental responsibility are fundamental pillars of success for any business, regardless of the industry.” Part of the judging criteria for the social impact prize is an evaluation of a company’s ability to achieve the Triple Bottom Line. The Triple Bottom Line refers to People, Plant and Profit and a company’s focus on those three things at once, rather than just one individually. For now, in the real world, only those businesses choosing to label themselves as social impact companies are being evaluated against that standard. My hope is that we get to a point where all businesses are evaluated on their ability to achieve a Triple Bottom Line.

Make sure you check out the New Venture Challenge Championship next week to see who wins the grand prize. The event is open to the public and should be a fantastic way to network with folks in the Boulder start-up community.