HBS Business Plan Contest Winners

Last Updated Apr 30, 2009 1:20 PM EDT

Harvard Business School's annual business plan contest has just come to a close, with the winners creating plans around Web site security and battery power for poor populations. Many business plan winners in the past have found funding for their projects and created real businesses as a result.

This year's winners were selected earlier this week. Here's a brief look at the winning entries:

The traditional track winner was CloudFare, developed by the team of second-year Harvard MBA students Matthew Prince and Michelle Zatlyn. CloudFlare is a Web security venture that enables small sites (initially 5,000 or fewer unique visitors per month ) to protect themselves from online attacks. "By building a significant user base from small sites, over time our value to large sites increases," Prince and Zatlyn told the HBS student newspaper The Harbus. "In time, we plan to launch services designed for higher traffic Web sites."

The Social Enterprise track was captured by EGG-Tech, whose goal is to provide a battery charging and swapping subscription service in Tanzania, where 35 million people live without electricity and often turn to kerosene as a dangerous substitute. The EGG-Tech team included Emmanuel Cassimatis, Alla Jezmir, and Benjamin Lambert, all member of the HBS MBA Class of 2009, as well as Jamie Yang, a post-doctoral associate at MIT, and MIT doctoral students Jukka Valimaki and Blandine Antoine. "EGG-Tech bridges the last mile by taking electricity at its source-the grid-and packaging it into small, light rechargeable batteries, each about the size of a brick," the founders told The Harbus.

Here is a list of some previous winners, courtesy the HBS Marketing and Communications office:

  • Diagnostic-For-All, a nonprofit enterprise that has developed a low-cost, paper-based "lab-on-a-chip" for diagnosing diseases in poor regions around the globe.
  • EyeView, which helps Web sites convert visitors into customers.
  • Good Start Genetics, which is developing a low-cost, pre-pregnancy test for multiple genetic disorders.
  • Finale, a Boston-area chain of four upscale restaurants specializing in fine desserts.
  • New Leaders for New Schools, a national nonprofit organization devoted to improving education for all children by attracting and preparing the next generation of outstanding leaders for urban public schools.
  • Sean Silverthorne

    Sean Silverthorne is the editor of HBS Working Knowledge, which provides a first look at the research and ideas of Harvard Business School faculty. Working Knowledge, which won a Webby award in 2007, currently records 4 million unique visitors a year. He has been with HBS since 2001.

    Silverthorne has 28 years experience in print and online journalism. Before arriving at HBS, he was a senior editor at CNET and executive editor of ZDNET News. While at At Ziff-Davis, Silverthorne also worked on the daily technology TV show The Site, and was a senior editor at PC Week Inside, which chronicled the business of the technology industry. He has held several reporting and editing roles on a variety of newspapers, and was Investor Business Daily's first journalist based in Silicon Valley.