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     PEC team enters Oxford's YBD semis

Jun 22, 2007, Bureau

A team from Punjab Engineering college team has qualified as semi-finalist at Youth Business Development (YBD), an annual global contest for entrepreneurial young people organized by Said Business School in Oxford, UK.

This team proposed a plan to provide education and employment to street children and unemployed graduates through an initiative to set up paper recycling facilities in India.

Overall, 38 teams from 15 different countries (and five continents) have reached the semi-final phase of the competition. YBD is run by students at Oxford’s Saïd Business School. It is an annual global competition for entrepreneurial young people, aged 16-21, which was created by the Oxford MBA and MFE Classes of 2005-2006. The YBD competition is based on three core strengths of Said Business School: Internationalism, Social focus and Entrepreneurship. According to Said Business School, “The competition is designed to deliver valuable life skills and business learning to the entrants, irrespective of their background, education or nationality, and to encourage an understanding of social enterprises. A prize fund of £2,000 in seed capital is available to support the leading ventures.” said Business School while talking about the Indian entry says, “The plan from Punjab Engineering college team aims to make the general population more aware of the environmental and social benefits of recycling.”

Each team comprises of 3-5 members. According to Said Business School, “Those who have made it through to the semi-finals are now being mentored by an Oxford MBA. The MBA mentors will help challenge the teams' initial ideas, provide recommendations for further work, and support the teams in creating a final 7-10 page business plan. The plan will address feasibility, market demand, resource mobilization, competitive strategy, and the capital requirements of their proposed venture.”

Other semi-finalists teams include a team from the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management (Germany) who proposed the plan of a cookery venture and a team from UK’s University of Essex, Colchester, who proposed a plan on Cultural Observation through Original Language (COOL). Cookery Venture is designed to give the youth an opportunity to cook and eat together -- to improve their awareness of nutrition and work in a team environment. According to Said Business School, “The venture aims to be a self-sustainable organization creating a unique learning platform for underprivileged young people in big cities.”

'COOL', on the other hand, aims to improve the understanding of diverse cultures in the local university through delivery of low-cost classes and seminars, bringing together many different groups which provide some level of cultural teaching to create a single coherent offering.

The YBD competition begins with a 1-page 'Idea' submissions from entrepreneurial teams, supported by a local liaison mentor (e.g. a high school or university teacher, community leader etc).

The most promising ideas, which show clear potential, advance to be paired with an Oxford MBA Mentor familiar with the region, and passionate about the team and its idea. Mentors communicate by web and phone to help guide market research and development of the business plan. The teams eventually submit 5-7 page business plans that address feasibility, market demand, resource mobilization, competitive strategy, and capital requirements.

Final plans are to be submitted by July 31 and will be reviewed by a Venture Capital and Philanthropy Panel. The team or teams, which most clearly demonstrate its/their ability to put capital to social and economic use, will be awarded the funding. According to Said Business School, “It is intended to provide the winners and other finalists with ongoing support from current or past Oxford MBA students to continue the development of their plans.”

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