Asper MBA Students Excel at International Business Plan Competition
Interconnection of business acumen and agricultural innovation place Asper MBA students in the finals of the world’s largest start-up competition
An Asper MBA business venture team excelled at the world’s first virtual business plan competition by reaching the final round of the 2020 SCG Bangkok Business Challenge, Asia’s longest-running global student start-up competition. Through a series of preliminary rounds the MBA foursome, “Team MYCA”: Sankalp Kalra, Meycee Kalaw, Paul-Emile Crevier, and Yusuf Kacamak were selected as one of the six finalists from a pool of 208 teams representing 83 institutions and 24 countries – all competing for more than US$60,000 in cash awards
As one of only two Canadian business schools to qualify for the final, Team MYCA presented their business plan to the judges comprised of investors, entrepreneurs, and business professionals. With a unique interconnection of business and agriculture, their business proposal featured an agricultural innovation developed by Dr. Chengbo Yang of UM’s Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences and Dr. Francis Lin of UM’s Faculty of Science. The product, entitled “Eldon”, is a patent-pending technology designed to change conventional mycotoxin testing and combat agricultural economic loss related to mycotoxins in grains.
Dr. Yang, Associate Professor of Animal Science, was impressed by the team’s efforts from the first business plan presentation in November 2019. “Dr. Lin and I enjoyed working with Team MYCA as they prepared their business start-up proposal based on the microfluidics-based low-cost and rapid detection technology we have developed. Their hard work and entrepreneurial vision will go a long way in giving farmers an important tool to combat crop yield losses and assure food and feed safety.”
With experience representing the Asper MBA program at other case competitions, Team MYCA’s CEO, Asper MBA student Meycee Kalaw noted that the online competition format created unique challenges. “Our team never met in person, everything was done virtually, forcing us to push the boundaries of the technology and making that work for us as a team.”
Debra Jonasson-Young [MBA 99], Director for the Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship was one of the team’s advisors that also included Dr. Zhenyu Wu, Asper School of Business Associate Dean and Josh Zaporzan [BComm(Hons) 2017], Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship New Venture Coach. Team MYCA also benefited from the industry consultation they received from Dulcie Price, President of Optimum Agra Services Ltd, and the wheat pathology expertise provided by Dr. Dilantha Fernando, Professor in the Department of Plant Science in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at University of Manitoba.
Jonasson-Young was impressed by how well the team represented the Asper School of Business and University of Manitoba at the virtual competition. “This is experiential learning at its best, and we should be very proud that our students are of the caliber that can compete at this level and gain valuable experience that will enrich their careers and indeed their lives.”