A global partnership has led to Teesside University developing a unique business challenge for students around the world to harness their entrepreneurial skills.
Academics from Teesside University Business School created an International Business Challenge, alongside partners from Prague College and SRM University in India.
The aim of the challenge was for students to use their entrepreneurial skills to address the needs of under-resourced communities in rural India. The initiative began in October 2020 and involved students from all three institutions contributing to a design phase where they produced guidance documents and a structure for the competition phase. Teesside University’s project leader Kate Baucherel invited two students from Prague College to join her as mentors for the competition, following their successful contributions in the design stage of the project.
The competition phase in 2021 involved students from Teesside University and SRM working in teams to develop business proposals. The mentors assisted teams with research, offered feedback and facilitated communication with participating institutions.
At the final phase of the competition, a panel including staff from Teesside University and SRM University assessed student presentations from the three finalist teams on how their ideas could successfully be put into practice and also considered their funding viability. The winning team was a high-tech preservation silo project which sought to keep grains secure, whilst ensuring it was economically viable to local farmers.
“SOME OF THE BUSINESS PROPOSALS PUT FORWARD WERE EXCEPTIONAL AND IT WAS FANTASTIC FOR THE STUDENTS TO WORK COLLABORATIVELY ON A PROJECT WHICH HAD THE POTENTIAL TO MAKE A REAL IMPACT”
– Dr Simon Lynch, Associate Dean (International)
The challenge was the first of its kind and was part-funded by the UKIERI fund from the British Council. The success of the International Business Challenge means plans are now underway to scale-up the event from September 2021, involving a larger number of students and additional partner institutions.
There are also plans to seek funding to allow some of the most promising business ideas to be developed and put into practice in the future.
Teesside University Business School has an outstanding reputation for international collaboration and aims to deliver an innovative learning approach that embraces digitisation, experiential learning, sustainability and globalisation.
Dr Simon Lynch, Associate Dean (International) in Teesside University Business School, said: “We were delighted to work in collaboration with colleagues from Prague and India to improve student entrepreneurial skills internationally.
“Some of the business proposals put forward were exceptional and it was fantastic for the students to work collaboratively on a project which had the potential to make a real impact.
“Teesside University Business School has strong international links which provide great opportunities for our students and we are looking forward to growing this project and see it to go from strength to strength.”