New York, NY, April 17, 2009 --(PR.com
)-- The Competition Committee is announcing that six external judges have agreed to serve on a judging panel for Knox Lawrence International’s (“KLI”) 2008-2009 Africa Business Plan Competition. The three finalist teams will present their business plans before this judging panel (rounded out by KLI representatives), at the upcoming Competition finals, to be held at Columbia Business School. Each external judge is a seasoned professional in their field, and brings his or her own unique perspective to the judging process.
Mr. William Guyster is the Chairman and CEO of Good Morning Africa, a business consulting organization that works with developing businesses in Africa. He brings his expertise in helping African businesses reach their operational goals. Good Morning Africa also runs an internship program for MBA students in Ghana.
Mr. James Makawa is the CEO and founder of the Africa Channel, which airs a variety of English-language programming from the continent. The commercially-supported channel is seen on cable systems in cities worldwide including New York City, Los Angeles, the Caribbean and on SKY in the United Kingdom. Previously, he founded the African Barter Company, the first barter syndication company ever launched in Africa. In 2002, he co-founded the African Broadcast Network (ABN), a network of television stations with affiliates in 18 countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Mr. Stephen Murray is the Senior Investment Officer at Pan African Capital Group and manages the Group's investments in the financial services sector. Previously with Modern Africa Fund Managers and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Stephen has a long history of knowledge and experience assessing economic, financial, and political considerations pertaining to African and emerging market investments.
Ms. Judith O’Neill is a 35 year law veteran, currently a Shareholder with international law firm Greenberg Traurig. She has built a career specializing in the legal and regulatory issues of developing nations, and has worked on projects or lectured in nearly two dozen African countries. In particular, her knowledge of the regulatory structures in sub-Saharan nations will help in evaluating important legal considerations of the competing plans.
Dr. Sagiv Shiv is a Managing Director at Merriman Curhan & Ford, and heads the firm’s Advisory Services banking team. Sagiv has been involved with many transactions and financings of telecommunications companies in Africa, including projects in Eritrea, Nigeria, South Africa, Algeria and Morocco. He has also served on the boards of several public technology companies.
Mr. David Steele is a twelve year faculty member at Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, and Managing Principal of the Steele Group. David has successfully led two start-up ventures and a private equity backed turnaround/growth venture. In corporate roles, he was the officer responsible for all customer facing divisions of a Midwestern public utility, and more recently, he was the officer responsible for the North American division of an international business process outsourcer. David is the faculty advisor to the Entrepreneurship club at Indiana University.
“I’m happy to see the judging panel come together with such an impressive cross-section of professionals who are focused on business in Africa”, says Nana Baffour, a KLI Managing Principal. “We are appreciative that so many of our professional relationships have agreed to come out and help support this effort.”
On Friday April 10th, the judging panel will convene at Columbia Business School to receive and review 45 minute presentations prepared by each finalist team. Following the presentations, the judges will provide the teams with feedback, critiques, and suggestions. After deliberations, the winning team and runners-up will be announced at a reception that evening, to be held at Columbia University’s Uris Hall.
Knox Lawrence International, LLC is a New York based private equity firm focused on acquiring and growing middle market non-core subsidiaries of Fortune 500 and other large companies in sectors that are undergoing significant transitions, such as the utility sector. Knox Lawrence focuses its investment activities in the following sectors: IT Services, Business Process Outsourcing and Energy Services. The firm has historically made acquisitions of non-core subsidiaries of US based publicly traded utilities and used these acquisitions as platforms to build high growth businesses.