Winners and Finalists from Laureate Institutions Worldwide Selected in the 2017 McGuire Business Plan Competition
The McGuire Business Plan Competition is Laureate’s signature entrepreneurship competition, open to all students of the Laureate network, and intended to support current students who are pursuing entrepreneurial ventures. Started in 2007, the competition has supported more than 20 student teams working in a variety of fields. The competition has a global reach and aims to be a diverse, innovative means of support for students using the skills learned at their institutions to start and sustain unique business ventures.
In 2017, more than 150 business plans were received in three languages from over 29 network institutions. Out of these plans, six finalist teams were selected and presented to the finals jury made up of former Laureate board members Jim McGuire and Todd Benson, as well as current Laureate Senior Vice President of Global Public Affairs and Chief Benefit Officer Esther Benjamin. The two winning teams will receive $25,000 USD in funding to kick start their ventures, and the four finalist teams will be awarded $5,000 USD to continue with their projects.
The competition has grown in recent years to award many diverse ventures that represent some of the most innovative work being done by students from the Laureate network. In 2017, the winners selected to receive the $25,000 start-up grant hail from the Universidad Tecnológica de México (UNITEC) and Monash South Africa (MSA). From UNITEC, Laureate Industrial Design student Oscar Manuel Zenteno Montoya leads AUA Solutions, a group that has developed a water-saving valve device fitted onto toilet systems that saves more than 50 percent of the water used in a flush with a normal valve. The product is both effective and offered at a competitive price point, and AUA has already built partnerships and established agreements with leading contractors and manufacturers in Mexico. The project has been supported by the business incubator at UNITEC.
The second winning team is led by Laureate student and employee Bronwyn Dugtig from Monash South Africa (MSA). Dugtig is obtaining a postgraduate diploma in corporate governance from MSA and is also the head of community engagement at the institution. Her venture is called MY VOICE and will work to promote and protect democracy in South Africa by delivering curriculum to high school learners that focuses on human rights, democratic institutions and their functions, policy development, and voter rights and responsibilities. Dugtig has assembled a multidisciplinary team with more than 25 years of combined experience in public service and programmatic expertise to develop the curriculum and expand their operations.
The four finalist teams were Josh Levent of Muutu from Domus Academy, Lucas Meira Leite and Brunno Brito de Araújo of Faz Labs from Universidade Salvador (UNIFACS), Eric Packard and Kelly Twichel of Beach Trax from University of St. Augustine, and Veronica Genoveva Ramirezz Cutti, Díaz Carrión Carlos Hernán and Saavedra Gonzales Miguel Angel of Sembrando País from Universidad Privada del Norte (UPN).