BEIJING, Jan. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The University of Maryland's Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the Robert H. Smith School of Business awarded $10,000 to winners of the 2011 China Business Plan Competition, in partnership with the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University in Beijing. MBA students from the Smith School competed with their counterparts in China on Jan. 14 in a contest to present the best business plan pitch. VeggieCool, a team from the Smith School of Business, with a plan for cold storage and transportation of produce grown in rural India won the top prize of $3,000, as well as the People's Choice Award of $1,000. The competition, now in its sixth year, was the culmination of a business plan course and trip to China for the Smith students, led by the Dingman Center.
"We are honored to host this China Business Plan Competition with the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business," said Hongbin Cai, dean of Peking University's Guanghua School of Management. "China is playing a more and more important role in the global economy. Due to the differences in culture and market conditions between the China and the rest of the world, this business plan competition, which specifically aims at promoting entrepreneurship in China, will be valuable to MBA students not only in China but also in America and countries all over the world."
"It's so critical for all students to have meaningful global experiences to understand today's business world," said G. "Anand" Anandalingam, dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business. "We are pleased to continue our strong collaboration with Guanghua School of Management to offer our students and students in China a hands-on entrepreneurial experience."
Teams of three to five MBA students from the Smith School, Guanghua School of Management, and UIBE all competed at Peking University's campus in Beijing. Some teams included both Smith and Guanghua students, who joined efforts when a group of Chinese students traveled to College Park, Md. in August 2010 to take part in the Dingman Center's two-week Jumpstart entrepreneurship program to build new businesses.
Each finalist team was tasked with pitching a business plan for a venture that would do business in China or leverage Chinese resources in some way. Teams presented their business ideas before a panel of expert judges that included Smith School leaders, Dingman Center entrepreneurs-in-residence, and entrepreneurial experts from China. A field of 31 teams was narrowed to six for the final competition. In addition to the top prize, the "A4" team from the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University took second place with a plan for an advertising business that offers high quality paper free to customers in exchange for placed advertising.
The competition was the highlight of a weeklong trip to China and a semester-long integrated entrepreneurship course offered by the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. The course incorporated the Dingman Center's expertise in assisting early-stage companies to guide participants through the steps of developing a business plan.
"The experience gives the students the opportunity to compete in a low-risk environment against MBA students from the top schools in China. Additionally, the students travel around and meet with successful entrepreneurs and executives to better understand the Chinese market," said Asher Epstein, managing director of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship. "The pace of business development in China is truly remarkable. Traveling to the country and working on business plans related to the market gives our students real experience in one of the world's fastest growing economies."
This is the sixth China Business Plan Competition held by the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, in support of the growth of world-class business ideas and business leaders in China. This year, the center marks its 25th year of helping students and regional entrepreneurs turn their business ideas into successful startups. This past fall the Dingman Center won the top award for innovative teaching methods from the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (GCEC), recognized for the China Business Plan Competition and its technology transfer program in Israel.
The award is given to the entrepreneurship center committed to maximum current and future student benefit through excellence in teaching and pedagogy, demonstrated by activities to change and improve the way entrepreneurship is taught and learned. The awards committee pointed to the Dingman Center's international student programs. Each year, the center sponsors international entrepreneurship experiences for students with a China Business Plan Competition in Beijing and a summer technology transfer program in Israel.
Entrepreneurship is a key area of focus for the Smith School, which is internationally known for its entrepreneurship research and programs. The Smith School is ranked among the best in the nation for its entrepreneurship offerings, according to rankings by U.S. News & World Report and Financial Times.
About the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship
The Dingman Center has been a hub of campus and regional entrepreneurial activity for 25 years. Among the Dingman Center's resources are its Capital Access Network (CAN), a pipeline that connects startups from regional tech councils, incubators and state-funded institutions with a network of more than 40 active, accredited angel investors and venture capitalists for early-stage capital. The center also helps lead the University of Maryland's Technology Transfer programs and provides MBA and undergraduate students at the Smith School with practical experiences and opportunities to pitch their business ideas, obtain feedback from experienced entrepreneurs-in-residence and access funding. More information is available at http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/dingman/.
About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, executive MS, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia. More information is available at http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/.
Contact: Carrie Handwerker
SOURCE University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business