Students of the Mona School of Business (MSB) of the University of the West Indies (UWI), who participated in a recently concluded Opportunity Funding Cooperation Innovation & Entrepreneurship (OFCIE) -- a Business Plan competition
for historically Black Colleges and Universities, in Atlanta, USA, placed first in the international competition, taking the cup for the first time as well as receiving the best presentation award. The MSB team was one of twenty-one schools which participated and was the only non-US based team. The success is therefore not only the UWIâ€™s but also Jamaicaâ€™s.
Last yearâ€™s MSB team also won the inaugural trophy for â€œBest Presentationâ€, making this year, two consecutive wins in Presentation Skills for the Jamaican team. The 2011 team includes: Christene Gittens, Taja Simpson, Danielle Barnett and Rohan Hylton; who are students of the MSB MBA part-time programme.
MSB entries in the Atlanta, US entrepreneurship competition, are drawn from participants in the UWIâ€™s internal competition on Business Plan Development and presentation in its UWI Venture Competition (UWIVC). The UWIVC provides entrepreneurial opportunities and experiences to students and helps them to look at the big picture and apply all their conceptual and theoretical knowledge to a chosen project.
The winner of the UWIVC, then goes to Atlanta for the USâ€™s competition at the OFCIE. The winner of the OFCIE will go on to the international competition Moot Corp, sponsored by the University of Texas, Austin.
MSB first entered the OFCIE in the 2002/2003 competition, when it placed third; - an accomplishment which they repeated in the following year. In the 2004/5 Venture Competition, they placed second, with a project on Ornamental Fish Farms. They again placed third in the 2005/6 competition. Last year, 2009/10, they returned to their winning ways, by taking the first place in Presentation Skills, and the third position for the Business Plan.
The OFCIE is a not-for-profit Corporation which was created in 1970, to facilitate the ownership of for-profit businesses by minorities and other disadvantaged persons through the provision of investment capital. The team placing first wins a prize of US$15,000, and the objective is to win potential investors, who will help to make the project a reality. The investment proposal for this yearâ€™s winning team was, â€œThe Jamaican Ginger Factoryâ€, a project to revitalize the growing of Jamaican Ginger, which holds the reputation of being the â€œWorldâ€™s Finest Ginger.â€
The UWI Venture Challenge Competition is a product of the Vincent HoSang Entrepreneurship Programme, funded by a Jamaican resident overseas, Mr. Vincent HoSang. Director of the Vincent HoSang Entrepreneurship programme is MSBâ€™s Mrs. Patricia Lothian and is coordinated by Ms. Chantelle Fuskin.
The winning local team had a number of MSB staffers who provided them with personal coaching and advice in preparation for the competition in Atlanta. MSBâ€™s partnership with the Private Sector enabled significant input, from business persons who are Adjunct Lecturers at the MSB, including Mr. Douglas Lindo, MSB Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and CEO of Bellindo Ltd., who was advisor for the team, Mr. Harry Smith MSBâ€™s Executive in Residence, and Mrs. Sandra Shirley, who advised on the Business Plan. Mrs. Elaine Commissiong Executive Director of CARA Ltd, and MSB lecturer in Marketing and Communication coached on Presentation Skills, assisted by Mr. Mark Chisholm, Vice President of Sagicor, and a graduate of MSB.