An international business plan competition on “Developing a financially sustainable and technologically feasible and scalable business idea that will create universal digital inclusion” was organized by jointly by St. Joseph’s Institute of Management, Bangalore and the Albers School of Business and Economics at Seattle University, USA.
Starting from last November, students of St. Joseph’s Institute of Management (SJIM, India), St. Joseph’s College of Law (SJCL, India), St. Joseph’s College (SJC, India), Albers School of Business and Economics (Seattle University, USA), and College of Science and Engineering (Seattle University, USA) have been collaborating in virtual teams. Together, they harnessed the two countries’ technical and social expertise towards solving this serious problem.
Three finalist teams were shortlisted by a European panel of judges including Dr. Fernando Bonete Vizcaino, professor of UX Design and Academic Secretary of the MA in Digital Humanities, CEU San Pablo University (Spain); Henrik Schoch, director of Digital Transformation department, UBS Investment Bank (Switzerland); and Matthew Oh, co-founder of the FOREFRONT Charity, which enables every person, equips leaders, and establishes self-sustaining communities by providing basic life necessities.
The finals for this competition was held on Wednesday, 31st March 2021 on a virtual (online) platform. The three finalist teams presented their b-plans to a four-member panel of judges from USA consisting of Haresh Ved (founder of Cronus Ventures and TiE Angels Groups Seattle), Brenda Christensen (founding Vice-President of Marketing for the data storage networking company, Brocade Communications), Phillip Stein (former owner and CEO of H&E Do-It-Yourself Centers and H&E Home Centers), and Madhu Singh (Founder and Chief Legal Officer at Foundry Law Group). The three finalist teams also fielded a set of challenging questions from the jury. The team consisting of Luke Hamlin (Albers), Yashasvi S. (SJC), Aparna T Nambisan (SJCL), Reshma Rose Jacob (SJCL), and Vignesh B. (SJIM) won the competition for their idea to promote digital inclusion primarily in rural India through different devices/concepts like the ‘rotunda truck’ or the ‘farmer’s automat’.
For the first time in this annual competition, this year the entire final round was conducted online, with the jury, teams, and hosts joining in from different locations and time zones across the globe.