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UPC wins McGuire Business Competition


McGuire Award

In 2008, Laureate International Universities launched the James McGuire Business Plan Competition. The competition was created to honor a long time friend of Laureate International Universities and former member of Laureate’s Board of Directors, James McGuire, and to help provide financial support and mentoring to entrepreneurs. Winners of the award receive a low interest loan of $100,000 and earn guidance and mentoring from experienced business leaders. The global competition builds on the very successful pilot program that was conducted in the Andean Region in 2008. 

In 2009, more than 150 student groups from 17 Laureate institutions submitted business plans to enter the competition. The top business plans from each participating country were submitted to an Internal Selection Committee composed of a geographically and functionally diverse group of Laureate leaders that included Andrés Velarde, Eva Icarán, Paolo Borsani, Sylvie Milverton and Jacqueline So that selected the top five business plans. The top five plans were shared with the External Selection Committee, which is composed of a group of experienced and very successful business leaders that included James H. McGuire (President of NJK Holding), Gregory Mann (Global Entrepreneur & Strategist), Oliver Guinness (Managing Director, Clearpoint Ventures), Thom Ruhe (Director of Entrepreneurship, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation) and Frank Bonsal, III (Partner, New Markets Venture Partners). The finalists were invited to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida earlier this month to present their projects and be interviewed by the External Selection Committee who picked the final winner.  The External Selection Committee recognized the excellent preparation of the finalists and noted the student business plans exceeded, in quality and detail, the business plans they often come across from professionals with many more years of experience. The quality of the applications made the Selection Committee’s job very difficult and the reviews went well into the evening.

The finalists included teams from five Laureate institutions:

  • SympaTea: An Eco-Friendly Tea Vending Machine Business from BiTs, Business and Information Technology School (Germany), which included: Benjamin Brϋnger, Fabian Mϋcke, Jan Fricke, Sebastian Bentzin, Philip Middel, and Torben Müller
  • Bavarian Beer Express: Railway Tour of the Culture of South Germany from Glion Institute of Higher Education (Switzerland), which included: Jill Barthel, Stephanie Bernhard, Miriam Brilla, Daniel May, Jeffrey Messud, Alexander Mach, Jung Hyo Lee, Nadia Alrawi, and Weini Wang
  • Formalar, SA: Franchising and Knowledge-Management Services for Informal Businesses from Universidad de las Américas (Ecuador), which included: Adriana Lara, Carlos Vela, Magdalena Crespo and Nelson Hernán Galarza
  • Chill & Chic: Clothing Boutique for Young Female Professionals Ages 18 – 25 from Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (Peru), which included: Cusi Saco Chung, Guillermo Alfredo Medina Melo, Lucia de Andrea Fernández Chup, and Melissa del Rosario Hoyos Bimbi.
  • Hotel Ecological Wabelujan: Ecotourism Hotel in Honduras from Universidad Tecnológica Centroamericana (UNITEC Honduras), which included: David Eduardo Natarén Oyuela, Doris Mercedes Orellana Raudales, Karen Melisa Portillo García and Nancy Sarahí Rodríguez Mendoza

For more information on the 2010 Global James McGuire Business Plan Competition, please contact Katherine Zuga, Manager of Community Outreach, at