Knox Lawrence International Launches 2nd Annual African Business Plan Competition

Business school candidates will compete for $15,000 in cash prizes along with the opportunity to have their vision considered for funding.

New York, NY, September 09, 2008 --( Knox Lawrence International, LLC, (KLI) a New York-based private equity firm, has launched the second iteration of its annual African Business Plan Competition. The firm organizes the competition in order to inspire innovative and well thought out business ideas that can flourish in the markets of Sub-Saharan Africa. Participating teams from the top business schools in the U.S. will compete for cash prizes, with the finalists garnering exposure and the opportunity to have their vision considered for financing by KLI.

“Africa has numerous under-developed markets with gaps in services and infrastructure that are in need of investment,” notes Competition Chairman Gregory Altman, a Vice President with KLI. “A recently improved macroeconomic climate, pockets of impressive economic growth, combined with substantial human, natural, and material resources, make Sub-Saharan Africa a region with a multitude of opportunities.”

No one can tackle all of these opportunities, and many groups are needed to address them. The competition organizers hope that this exercise will provide an incentive for many young business leaders to direct their energies towards Africa. Participants will retain all rights to the use of their ideas.

The process by which an investment proposal is evaluated by a private equity firm can be difficult and confusing for a venture’s proponents. The competition organizers aim to provide a valuable experience relating this process to entrants in the Competition. As we review the plans, we will provide feedback from our perspective, along with suggestions and relevant contacts from our experience in the investment and development fields. We look forward to continuing this process with motivated participants after the competition has concluded, and will give serious consideration to their investment proposals.

Last year’s competition was oriented towards plans that involved microfinance in some manner, and produced finalists in the renewable energy and telecommunications sectors. This year they would guide potential entrants towards sectors they find particularly promising:
· Health Care
· Energy
· Agriculture & Related Products/Services
· On-Line Education & Related Technology

Please Note:
This is a team competition, and is meant for students now enrolled in graduate programs located in the United States, with at least 2 members currently matriculated in a full-time MBA program. Three finalist teams will be invited to New York for business plan presentations judged by a panel consisting of KLI senior representatives along with select independent judges. The winning team will be awarded $10,000, and $5,000 in prize money will be split between the runner-up finalists.

Applications and preliminary business plans (4-8 pages long) due on December 1st, 2008. Qualifying teams will be invited to submit a full business plan, due in February of 2009. The finalist presentations will be held in April of 2009. There is no application fee, and funds will be available for travel and lodging expenses of the participating finalists. For complete details, guidelines, announcements, and application materials for the Competition, please access the competition website at

About Knox Lawrence:
Knox Lawrence International, LLC is a New York-based private equity firm focused on acquiring and growing small to mid-sized non-core subsidiaries of Fortune 500 and other large companies in sectors that are undergoing significant transitions. Knox Lawrence focuses its investment activities in the following sectors: IT Services, Energy Services, Business Process Outsourcing, Financial Services and Telecommunications.

Knox Lawrence International
Gregory Altman - Competition Chairman