Beijing, China - January 5, 2012 — The University of Maryland’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the Robert H. Smith School of Business awarded $10,000 to winners of the 2012 China Business Plan Competition, in partnership with the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University in Beijing. The January 5 contest to present the best business plan pitch also included Chinese teams from Tianjin and Zhejiang Universities and Smith’s Israel partner school, the Technion—Israeli Institute of Technology.
eWalking, a team from Zhejiang University with a plan for an electronic cane designed for the visually impaired which detects and alarms obstacles in 3 dimensions, won the top prize of $3,000 as well as the People’s Choice Award of $1,000. The competition, now in its seventh year, was the culmination a business plan course and trip to China for Smith MBA students, led by the Dingman Center.
“In order to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in education, research, practice, and international cooperation, the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) was founded in April 2011. We are honored to host the 7th Annual China Business Plan Competition in collaboration with the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business,” said Hongbin Cai, dean of Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management. “This competition is a key component in fostering awareness of innovation and entrepreneurship and we hope that all participating student teams benefit immensely from this opportunity.”
“This competition trains teams of managers and entrepreneurs to look for and capitalize on global opportunities in a setting where economic growth and competitiveness is strong,” said G. “Anand” Anandalingam, dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business. “We are grateful to the Guanghua School of Management (Peking University) for partnering with us on the competition and sending students to our programs in the US and Israel, which are the cornerstone to a top-tier international business education.
Each year the Smith School brings students to Israel and China and brings students from both those locations to the U.S. Smith also brings Israelis to China and Chinese students to Israel.
“Our unique global triangle promotes economic growth by linking three institutions in separate nations defined by their economic strengths: top tier U.S. management, which is our MBA students, partnering with high-level global innovation, which is what we’ve found in Israel, and focused on the best markets in the world, which are in China,” said Asher Epstein, managing director of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship.
The Smith School is partnering with UIBE to launch an Executive MBA degree program in China this spring. Six Smith EMBA students were among the school’s 25 participants in the competition, which was part of a weeklong trip to China’s capital. The students also met with successful, local entrepreneurs including CreditEase and Tencent and executives from global companies including Pepsi, Boeing and Danfoss, to better understand the Chinese market.
The competition culminated a three-credit course on global learning experiences co-developed by the Smith School and led by Epstein and Dr. J. Robert Baum, associate professor of entrepreneurship. Some sessions were taught by Dingman Center experts, as the course fulfills a portion of the new Smith Experience requirement, aimed at providing MBA students hands-on entrepreneurial experiences.
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. Judges included Smith School and Dingman Center leaders, and entrepreneurial experts from China. A field of 21 teams was narrowed to six for the final competition. In addition to the top prize, the Live-a-betes team from University of Maryland took second place with a plan for a comprehensive, educational learning platform for diabetics, pre-diabetics, and caretakers.
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 EntrepreneurshipThe Dingman Center has been a hub of campus and regional entrepreneurial activity for 25 years. Among the Dingman Center’s resources are its Dingman Center Angels, 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, manages global entrepreneurship programs in China and Israel, and provides MBA and undergraduate students at the university with practical experiences and opportunities to pitch their business ideas, obtain feedback from experienced entrepreneurs-in-residence and access funding.