COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business awarded $10,000 in cash prizes on Tuesday to the winners and finalists of the 2013 China Business Plan Competition, organized by the Smith School’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship and Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management in Beijing. For the competition, students from the Smith School traveled to Beijing to compete with teams from five Chinese universities and the Technion Israeli Institute of Technology.
Smith School student Yuan He won the competition’s top prize of $3,000 with his pitch for Honeymoon Honey, a plan to rent honey bees to farmers and harvest the honey to make cosmetics. The competition, now in its eighth year, was the culmination of a business plan course and study trip to China for Smith School MBA students, led by the Dingman Center.
“Innovation and entrepreneurship is an important topic drawing significant attention from governments and business schools around the world. The capabilities of innovation and entrepreneurship are particularly important for China, which is undergoing a key period of overall economic transition,” said Hongbin Cai, dean of Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management. “Leading the edge of innovation and entrepreneurship education in business schools, the China Business Plan Competition hosted by Guanghua School of Management in collaboration with the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business manages to enhance the communication of innovative ideas and cultivate entrepreneurial practices.”
“We are committed to providing MBA students with hands-on global learning opportunities and this competition has been a hallmark of that pledge, as students take advantage of the wealth of entrepreneurial opportunities in China’s flourishing economy,” said G. “Anand” Anandalingam, dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business. “We are pleased to continue our partnership with the Guanghua School of Management to offer this rich learning experience to our students and students in China and Israel. Regardless of their home country, MBA students benefit from exploring entrepreneurial ventures in new markets.”
Each finalist team was tasked with pitching a plan for a venture that would do business in China or leverage Chinese resources in some way. Second place and $2,000 went to Love-Link, a plan for a company that addresses vegetable food safety from a Tianjin University team. A team from Zhejiang University won third place ($1,000) with its pitch for SmartWheel, a high-tech wheel chair. Additional finalist teams were recognized and earned smaller cash prizes. Judges included Smith School and Dingman Center leaders, and entrepreneurial experts from China.
The competition was the highlight of the Smith School students’ week of exploring venture creation and global operations in China’s rapidly evolving economy. The trip was the conclusion of a three-credit course on global learning experiences led by J. Robert Baum, associate professor of entrepreneurship. The trip also included meetings with successful local entrepreneurs and visits to multinational corporations’ manufacturing facilities to better understand the Chinese market.
In addition to leading study trips to China, the Smith School also offers an executive MBA degree program in Beijing with partner the University of International Business and Economics. In both its China and U.S. programs, entrepreneurship is a key area of focus for the Smith School. The school is internationally known for its entrepreneurship research and programs, ranking among the best in the world for its offerings, according to U.S. News & World Report and the Financial Times.