IBM SmartCamp Finals - Nine Winners
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Before the three San Jose State students live blogging at this event got the chance to attend this event, we each had to submit a sample blog entry on the challenges and benefits of entrepreneurship. In this entry, I ended the blog with, "Entrepreneurship is a game of risks, there are few winners, but those who win, win big." It seems that today is a rare day.
Today, even before the competitors got on stage to give their possibly revamped six minute presentations followed by a nine minute questioning by the judges, one thing is for sure, all finalists are winners. To see nine companies that started with just a simple idea present their business models in front of an array of judges and a profound audience is extremely impressive.
In the college classroom setting of any business class, project presentations are basically standard. Today we clearly see why such presentations have such a large role in the college setting. Take a classroom presentation, multiply it by 100 and this is what we get today. Each competitor got on stage, gave their six minute pitches and endured a nine minute panel of questions about their business strategy and much much more.
As I listen intently to these questions, a trend emerged, there was a clear interest from the judges in each company's possible competitors, business model, cost, revenue plan, and places of further possible innovation. There was struggle to answer some questions while other answers came flawlessly as if the questions were anticipated. There is a lot riding on the back of these presentations, you are expected to illustrate your passion behind your strategy that probably took months if not years to create, in just six minutes. Sitting here as a college student, I myself see areas of improvement for some of these presentations as well as ones that left me in awe wanting to invest in that business myself. These are lessons that I will take with me as I certainly progress in my career.
Although the questions did have a variation, every single company got asked about their business model in some sort of way. Whether it was with their current model or future changes to their model, what was illustrated is the importance of a solid business model. Something that is drilled into your head in business school is then again reiterated with important emphasis as we reach the culmination of this exciting event. The ultimate lesson: start with a solid business model, everything else will come standard.
We are awaiting the judging as well as the announcement of the 2011 Global Entrepreneur of the Year.
Stay posted for the winner!
Diane Pham live blogging at the IBM SmartCamp Global Finals.