New York, NY, April 19, 2009 --(PR.com
)-- Knox Lawrence International is pleased to announce that “EGG Tech,” a business plan from Harvard University and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is the grand prize winner of its 2nd Annual Africa Business Plan Competition. The judging, a day long event on Friday, April 10th 2009, was comprised of presentations by the teams, and questions from the judging panel, most of whom are entrepreneurs themselves, with long histories of successful business development in Sub Sahara Africa.
“The judges held an impressive amount of expertise in the market we are targeting which resulted in detailed directly applicable advice. Much of the feedback received and of the new ideas we heard will go directly into our business. The amount of direct and honest feedback we received during the day dwarfs any other source we have had so far.” –Jukka Valimaki-MBA Candidate, MIT Sloan School of Management.”
“I was blown away this year by the quality of the finalists’ presentations and the level of enthusiasm exhibited by the judging panel”, says Executive Chairman Kenneth Globerman. “We truly hit a home run with respect to the caliber of knowledge and experience we were fortunate enough to have help provide analysis and feedback to the students.”
The winners of the second place prize of $3,500 are Waziri Garuba, Shayan Hussain, and Julie Stokely of Columbia Business School at Columbia University. Their plan, “The Adventures of Ada and Ayo”, centered around providing entertaining educational literature for young Nigerian Children.
Recipients of the third place prize of $1,500 are Manoj Sinha, Scott Emami, and Keith Florance from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. Their plan, “TeleMed Africa”, proposes the first low cost medical service enabling millions of Sub Saharan Africans access to timely, affordable, and professional diagnosis and advice.
The grand prize winners are Jukka Valimaki, Rhonda Jordan, Blandine Antoine, and Mark Yen from MIT Sloan School of Business; and Emmanuel Cassimatis, Alla Jezmir, Jamie Yang, and Benjamin Lambert from Harvard Business School. Their winning plan, “EGG Tech,” focuses on a replaceable battery system for energy in Africa, establishing an energy infrastructure to low income consumers.
All three prize winners were celebrated at a cocktail reception Friday evening, where the teams, judges, and invitees mingled and discussed the day’s events and further ventures relating to Sub Sahara Africa. The cocktail reception had John W. McArthur, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of Millennium Promise as a Keynote Speaker. Mr McArthur, who was recently designated by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader, spoke about the need for commercially oriented business solutions (as demonstrated in the competition) to compliment aid oriented solutions; thus offering an “all of the above” approach to reducing poverty and economic hardship in Sub Sahara Africa. The evening concluded with distribution of prize monies and engraved plaques of recognition for each team.
“The global economic downturn has not dampened the creative enthusiasm of tomorrow's industry leaders nor has it diminished their business acumen even as applied to Sub Saharan Africa where intense needs and brilliantly simple ideas converge to drive sound business development,” says Judith O’Neil, Competition Judge and Shareholder at New York law firm, Greenberg Traurig. “For those of us who live near Wall Street but work in Sub Saharan Africa and see the business potential in these countries, the Business Plan Contest among MBA finalists conceived and sponsored by Knox Lawrence deserves recognition and praise for its selection of finalists and its impeccable organization.”
Last year, KLI kicked off its Africa Business Plan Competition by targeting students who are first or second year in Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs at top U.S. Business Schools who showed interest in Entrepreneurship, Emerging Markets, and Microfinance. KLI is looking forward to next year’s event, which will be consistent with the Africa focus, and expectations of it being a platform for their winners to implement their plan upon graduation.
“The quality of this year’s participants and their plans is a testament to the plethora of investment opportunities and the need for foreign investment in Africa. KLI is proud to play a role in providing students a forum to pursue their business plans with a goal of on the ground implementation. We look forward to including business schools from Europe and Africa in next year’s competition.” –Johnson Kachidza, Managing Principal and co-Founder, Knox Lawrence International, LLC.
About Knox Lawrence:
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.