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Philanthropy meets profit – Line between business, charity fades

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Web investors and entrepreneurs, young and old, are throwing out the old divisions between profit and philanthropy, Wired News reports.

Last month the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley held a national business-plan competition for entrepreneurs with a social agenda, Wired reports.

The competition received 66 entries from business students who strive for a “dual dividend” from their work, Wired reports.

Older investors are realizing life is too short to separate their values from their work, and younger entrepreneurs want to infuse their goals with greater meaning, says John May, managing partner of Vantage Partners, an investment advisory firm.

But unlike financial return, social value is hard to measure. In the end, social value take a back seat to profit – “because if you lose your investment, you also lose your social value,” Mays said.

The contest winner, EasyDiabetes.com, helps patients to better manage diabetes. The site’s award enables it to pick and choose from a number of investors. Other contestants hold out the option to become nonprofits if they can’t find investors, Wired says.

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