Global Social Venture Competition for the first time won by non-Americans

Moctar Dembélé from Burkina Faso and Gérard Niyondiko from Burundi, are the first non-Americans to win the Global Social Venture Competition. Their product, Faso Soap, offers an innovative solution for the prevention of malaria, while taking into account financial constraints and cultural habits of African families.

Faso Soap is based on shea butter and enriched with essential oils. It has the potential to have far-reaching impact in many African countries by combatting malaria, the leading cause of death for the African population. “Everyone uses soaps, even in the very poor communities”, Moktar Dembélé, General Manager of Faso soap said.

The invention is a good example of how Africans are developing unique solutions to African problems across various sectors from technology to healthcare.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about half of the world population is still at risk of contracting malaria. In 2010, among 219 million people affected, there were 660,000 deaths, of which 91% were in Africa where malaria remains the leading cause of death. Particularly vulnerable individuals are pregnant women, children under 5 and HIV patients. Considering this alarming report, Moctar Dembele and Gérard Niyondiko, two students from 2iE Foundation, have found an innovative solution through the project Faso Soap. The company will produce and market both antibacterial and anti-mosquito soaps made with 100% local resources to integrate prevention against malaria in the daily lives of people most affected by this scourge.

The Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) provides aspiring entrepreneurs with mentoring, exposure, and $50,000 in prizes to transform their ideas into businesses that will have positive real world impact. Founded by MBA students at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, the GSVC culminates each year with the Global Finals and Conference at Berkeley in April, gathering teams from around the world and Bay Area professionals for a day of learning and networking. GSVC has evolved into a global network supported by an international community of volunteer judges, mentors and student organizers and a partnership of premier business schools in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

In 2012-2013, GSVC received 650 entries from nearly 40 countries. Previous years’ finalists include Husk Power, Revolution Foods, and d.light design. Since its inception in 1999, the GSVC has awarded more than a quarter of a million dollars to emerging social ventures and has introduced early-stage social venture entrepreneurs to the investment community.