We’re thrilled to announce that Siam Organic won The Chivas Venture social entrepreneurship competition last week in Los Angeles, California! Our CEO, Neil, delivered a pitch to judges in the final round along with entrepreneurs from four other social businesses. The panel of judges included actress and philanthropist, Halle Berry; founding executive director of the Beeck Centre for Social Impact & Innovation at Georgetown University, Sonal Shah; founder of Pencils of Promise and MissionU, Adam Braun; and chairman of Pernod Ricard, which owns Chivas Regal, Alexandre Ricard.
Other finalists included Recycle Points from Nigeria, which helps low-income households create value by recycling waste; Bioestibas from Colombia, a company that converts flower farming waste into ecological shipping pallets; iDrop Water from South Africa, a service that increases availability of safe and affordable drinking water; and Intendu from Israel, a company that aids brain rehabilitation using video games. Over 2,000 social enterprises from 30 countries entered this year’s competition, so the five finalists overcame strong competition to make it to the last round in Los Angeles.
The judges had a tough time choosing a winner among the five strong and inspiring finalists, evaluating each social enterprise based on social impact, financial sustainability, and the ability to scale. We were surprised and ecstatic when the judges finally announced Siam Organic as the grand prize winner! As we rapidly expand our export operations to bring Jasberry rice products to more markets around the world, the support we’ve received from The Chivas Venture will assist us in upgrading our production and packaging facilities, and will help us subsidize the cost of training and certifying thousands of new organic Jasberry farmers.
The finals in Los Angeles were the culmination of the third year of The Chivas Venture, a contest where 30 social entrepreneurs from around the world compete for a share of $1 million in funding to help grow their businesses. Are you a social entrepreneur looking for funding? If so, the application process for next year’s The Chivas Venture 2018 opens on September 4th, so keep an eye on their website!