Victory for dot-com with a conscience

April 28, 2000

Like most MBA students now, Jenna Beart and Michael Douek dream of starting a dot-com company and making their first million. Unlike most, they also plan to save lives along the way. And as winners of the Haas Social Venture Business Plan Competition this week, they are a little closer to achieving their goals.

Ms Beart and Ms Douek, students at the Anderson School at the University of California, Los Angeles, combined their medical and business knowledge to create an internet-based diabetes management system, EasyDiabetes, and bagged the $10,000 prize.

Inspired and organised by students at the Haas Business School at the University of California at Berkeley, the competition aims to "serve as a catalyst for entrepreneurs to bring their socially responsible business ideas to life". Students were invited to submit business plans showing that they could not only make a profit, but also provide solutions to a social or environmental problem.

The idea stemmed from Ms Beart's personal experience with diabetes, which means that she must measure her blood-sugar level as often as ten times a day.

EasyDiabetes would allow her to send data to her doctor via the internet. "The system allows a more sophisticated analysis, one that can show long-term trends," said Ms Beart, who used to take along handwritten logs to doctor's appointments.

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