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Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship


Announcing the Winner of the first Robert Davies Memorial Essay Contest

MBA student wins £15,000 prize for essay on ‘The Internet of Everything’

The Skoll Centre at Saïd Business School, Oxford and The Althea Foundation in San Francisco are delighted to announce the winner of the inaugural Robert Davies Memorial Essay Contest. The winning essay was authored by Oxford MBA student Alexa Roscoe, who has been awarded the £15,000 prize for her essay entitled "How the Internet of Everything can jumpstart corporate responsibility".

This year’s contest posed the challenge:  Describe how ‘the internet of everything (IOE)’ can enhance large scale transformational change around corporate responsibility and economic opportunity. “

The contest was open to all student and faculty members of the University of Oxford. It was adjudicated by a panel of reviewers, who shortlisted the top essays based on a list of specific criteria before they went to a distinguished panel of judges to select the winner.

The winning essay from Ms Roscoe outlines how IOE could be used to address four major challenges of corporate responsibility - traceability, supply chain optimization, environmental sustainability, and impact measurement - envisioning what IOE-enabled corporate responsibility would look like if applied to agriculture in the developing world. 

“I’m honoured to receive the 2015 Robert Davies Award,” said Ms Roscoe.  “The internet of everything is an inspiring topic and one which - if utilized correctly - can be a powerful driver of economic development.” 

Ms Roscoe's additional blog post about the topic can be read on The Social MBA website.

Pamela Hartigan, Director of the Skoll Centre, added “This is the first of what we hope will be an annual recognition of the creative and intellectual excellence of our Oxford students. Their capacity to envisage innovative and pragmatic solutions to address global problems, taking advantage of advances in science and technology, should give us great hope for the future.”

Alexsis de Raadt St James, Founder and Executive Director of the Althea Foundation commented, “Those of us who knew and worked with Robert Davies will forever be inspired by his humanity, creativity and relentless desire to urge organisations to be accountable and responsible. We are delighted Alexa Roscoe has captured the essence of all that Robert stood for within one essay and that we have the Skoll Centre at Saïd Business School, Oxford as our partner in this endeavour."

The winning essay can be seen on the Skoll Centre website, and all other entries for the contest will soon be made similarly available.

About Robert Davies
HRH The Prince of Wales and Robert Davies, a visionary social entrepreneur, founded the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) in 1990.  Robert led the organization until his death in 2007. Robert’s life was committed to making the world a better place by building strong relationships between major global corporations, the public sector and civil society. In that role, he drew business into issues of sustainability, human rights, corruption and health, demonstrating to corporate leaders that responsible behaviours are in their long-term interest. Supported by multi-nationals, the International Business Leaders Forum was able to make a significant contribution to business leadership and practices over a period of 24 years.

About the Althea Foundation
The Althea Foundation is a social venture fund that focuses on areas of society that have often been overlooked or underfunded by other donors or institutions.

Since 2003, our venture philanthropy model has been to provide financial and non-financial support to our portfolio of organizations. It funds new initiatives and established organizations it believes could benefit from financial help to ensure their continued success and impact. Our mission is to serve not only as a provider of capital but also a valued business partner and mentor.

Since its inception it has funded 25 initiatives in the following areas; Entrepreneurship (Youth, Women and Veterans), Medicine (Integrative, Rare Disease and Epigenetics), Environmental Sustainability in Hotel Management, Mental Health (Web Based Suicide Prevention for Teens), PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome), Training and Education for Ex-Offenders, Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and Childhood Literacy.

Its initiatives have received recognition from The White House, Scotland Yard, Ministry of Defence (UK) and funding from The Clinton Global Initiative.

Over the last ten years The Althea Foundation has received generous support from Diageo, The Marriott Foundation, Goldman Sachs Gives, The GE Foundation, The American Express Foundation, Citi Foundation, SAP, The Carlson Family Foundation and many other foundations and private individuals who believe in its mission.

About the Skoll Centre
The Skoll Centre at Saïd Business School was established in 2003 with a generous grant from the Skoll Foundation in Palo Alto, CA.  The mission of the Skoll Centre at Saïd Business School is to demonstrate and accelerate the impact of entrepreneurial activity that aims to transform unjust or unsatisfactory systems and practices.

We do this by:

  • cultivating talent and emerging leadership: we offer world-class graduate education that provides students with the vision and skills to bring together market-based approaches and social innovation
  • supporting actionable insight through research: we generate research that contributes to the theory of social entrepreneurship and its practical applications to address critical global challenges whilst developing and supporting a network of academics and practitioners to disseminate this knowledge globally
  • catalysing deep exchanges with a global community of innovators: we connect social entrepreneurs with thought leaders and key players in business, government, and philanthropy to enhance social impact.