The Venture, luxury whisky Chivas Regal's search to find and support the most innovative startups from across the world, rewarded five social enterprises the remaining share of their $1million annual fund at their Final Event in New York City. The winners were announced after five grand finalists pitched in front of a live audience and judging panel that included actress and philanthropist Eva Longoria.
The event was the culmination of the second year of Chivas' The Venture, which received over 2,500 applications from scalable and sustainable social entrepreneurs. The evening was hosted by The Daily Show presenter, Trevor Noah who applauded all five entrepreneurs that pitched on their commitment to using business as a force for good. The judging panel which included Eva Longoria, Donald Shah, Joe Huff and Alexandre Ricard, assessed each business based on their ability to create sustainable change through a viable business model and potential to scale.
Social startup Conceptos Plásticos from Colombia was awarded the largest contribution from The Venture fund, receiving $300,000. Focusing on transforming plastic waste into construction material for permanent housing, Conceptos Plásticos creates much needed building materials for communities to establish a physical infrastructure. The additional finalists to receive funding and recognition were; WeFarm ($200k) – a pioneering knowledge-sharing platform for small scale farmers, EyeControl ($100k) – a mobile communication device for "locked-in" patients, Wakami ($100k) – producer of handmade fashion accessories that support community businesses across Guatemala, and Coolar ($50k) – an innovative healthcare cooling system enabling doctors to preserve lifesaving medicine in off-grid regions.
Eva Longoria congratulated each of the winners on the night:
"I was really inspired by the finalists tonight – I'm so grateful there are people in the world who can figure out solutions to complex global problems. We all live in a global community and I absolutely believe social entrepreneurship is the only way we can create positive change. The caliber of the 27 finalists, their business ideas and fresh thinking was amazing."
The Final Event was attended by a range of high profile entrepreneurs, business leaders and influencers from New York City and beyond. Also in the audience was Golden Globe nominated actor Oscar Isaac who starred in Chivas Regal's Win The Right Way film, which was aired to the 300-strong audience at the beginning of the night.
Pernod Ricard's Chairman and CEO, and The Venture judge, Alexandre Ricard, said:
"It was truly a privilege to be part of the judging panel and watch the five finalists pitch for the remaining $750,000 of funding. Businesses like Conceptos Plásticos and WeFarm are great examples of how innovative, passionate and forward-thinking the social entrepreneurship movement is. Chivas is proud to support the global community of businesses that are on a mission to make a positive change in the world – I look forward to seeing the impact of these projects in the future."
Chivas' The Venture launched in September 2014 and has already seen the 16 finalists from the first year of the competition thrive and have an increased impact on a range of social and environmental issues. The 16 Alumni social enterprises are now supporting more than 200,000 beneficiaries in over 50 countries around the world.