SAGE: Breaking down the competition

How the entrepreneurial tournaments really work

Tournaments for SAGE are like many other interscholastic competitions. A bracket is drawn and teams compete by making 15-minute presentations about their business ventures and activities to a panel of judges composed of leaders in the business community.

“This year, SAGE California is hosting the SAGE USA competition in addition to hosting the largest statewide competition ever for SAGE California,” said Rob Martinez, the state group’s executive director. “This will give me the opportunity to see some of the brightest business- and social-minded high school entrepreneurs in the country.”

The SAGE California tournament will be held May 15 at the San Mateo Marriott Hotel. The top two teams from the state advance to the SAGE USA National Competition on May 29-31, also at the San Mateo Marriott. The 2009 SAGE World Cup will be held Aug. 9-11 in Brazil.

Nigeria won the SAGE World Cup last year, followed by South Korea. SAGE USA—that is, national champion Santa Monica High School—took home third place. Part of SAGE Santa Monica’s work included organizing a march on the Santa Monica City Hall to help ban the use of plastic grocery bags in their community.

Judging criteria relate to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, eight principles that range from eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and achieving primary education to reducing child mortality and developing a global partnership for development.

Each team gets evaluated in 10 areas, with up to 10 points possible in each, on how it:

• planned and operated at least one new for-profit business.
• planned and operated at least one continuing for-profit business.
• planned and operated at least one social venture.
• included at least one global component in its activities during the year.
• demonstrated an understanding of the importance of civic engagement in a democratic society.
• demonstrated an understanding of the importance of being responsible stewards of the environment in a free-market economy.
• utilized “consultants/mentors” from a nearby college or university.
• utilized a business advisory board (minimum of three members, at least two from the private sector).
• utilized mass media.
• measured the results of each project.