Global Social Venture Competition Names Speak Shop Semi-Finalist

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Fair Trade Online Spanish Tutoring Company Delivers Social and Financial Benefits

Speak Shop,, an award-winning pioneer in live online Spanish tutoring, has been named a semi-finalist in the Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC).

GSVC is a global business plan competition organized by the Berkeley Haas School of Business, Columbia Business School, London Business School and the Goldman Sachs Foundation. What makes the GSVC unique is its focus on supporting the creation of businesses that generate social impact alongside profits. Plans must include a Social Impact Analysis that translates their social impact into dollars. Since its inception in 1999, the GSVC has demonstrated that businesses can be frontline participants in social change.

Every team must include at least one current or recent MBA student. Some ventures exist only on paper while others are in the start-up, pre-funding stage. More than 150 executive summaries were submitted for the initial competition round in November. Semi-finalists selected for the GSVC finals will travel to New York on April 7th to vie for the top prize of $25,000 by presenting their ideas to judges and venture capitalists.

Speak Shop, which has been operating for less than a year, has had a chance to test its concept in the market. An open marketplace designed to increase access to foreign language education and foster micro-entrepreneurship in developing countries, Speak Shop makes it possible for pre-screened Spanish tutors to teach students anywhere in the world via webcam. Tutors set their own hours and rates, thus ensuring they receive a fair wage for the quality of their service.

Speak Shop’s three-person team consisted of co-founders Clay and Cindy Cooper and Thunderbird graduate business student, Ashley Willms.

In 2005, Speak Shop won "Best Social Return on Investment Analysis" in the Social and Environmental Technology Inventors Challenge.

About Speak Shop

Speak Shop was founded by Clay and Cindy Cooper to increase access to cross-cultural foreign language education and to generate economic opportunity for people in Latin America. People around the world use Speak Shop to take live Spanish lessons online while supporting international economic development. For more details on Speak Shop visit


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Cindy Cooper
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