Taiwan, Mongolia, golf proposals top business plan competition
Mike Foley | University Advancement | 18 February 2007
Approximately 100 visiting business owners as well as BYU-Hawaii faculty and students filled the McKay Auditorium on February 16 to listen to six finalist teams — divided equally between countries with "developing economies" and those with "developed economies" — make oral 10-minute proposals in the annual Willes Center for International Entrepreneurship business plan competition.
Following the presentations, the visiting entrepreneur judges, awarded the following:
• The $5,000 grand prize, donated by The Ron Lindorf Foundation, went to the Taiwan Zhou's team — consisting of Shu Yan Zhou, a senior accounting major from Taiwan; Yar Chin Wong, a senior psychology major from Malaysia; Elisha Lim, a junior accounting major from Malaysia; and Brian Akagawa Golladay, a senior accounting major from the U.S. — for their proposal to expand a popular red bean pastry enterprise.
Their plans call for building on the success of popular bakery products Zhou's father has been selling in Nantou, Taiwan, for over 20 years by opening a string of shops there and in other cities on the island.
Zhou, who worked in her father's business for 10 years, added many people have already requested franchises; and Lim said, "Once the brand has been established in Taiwan, we will expand our business internationally. Our next target will be China and Hong Kong."
• The $4,000 first-place prize for developing economy countries went to Sainbayar Jajian, a senior accounting major, and Adiyabold Namkhai, for their business plan to improve New Milestone, a company conducting special interest tours to explore the countryside and lifestyles of Outer Mongolia.
"Mongolia is the next frontier for tourism," Sainbayar said, after showing a video clip that included striking images of the Asian steppes and Gobi desert. She pointed out that last year 400,000 tourists visited the relatively new democracy, "and we're going to reach the astonishing million-mark by 2015."
Adiyabold, a non-student who has 10 years of tourism experience including taking Mongolian Latter-day Saints to the Hong Kong Temple, explained New Milestone needs about $35,000 to launch plans that eventually call for building a gher or yurt compound on the steppes, and expand into outbound tourism.
"So far in 2007 we have booked seven tours, and in May we are working with the BYU-Hawaii choir tour," he added.
• The $4,000 first-place prize for developed economies went to the Golf Express Hawaii team of Alex Sakaguchi from Hawaii, a 2006 International Business Management graduate; Mana Newton, a senior accounting major from New Zealand; and Kawai Davis, a junior Information Systems major from Guam. They proposed establishing a tour company that caters to golfers from Japan.
Sakaguchi explained there are currently no Hawaii tour operators focusing on golf packages for Japanese. "We're streamlining a proven industry," he said; and Newton projected total revenues of $1.2 million in the first year, with a gross margin of about $120,000.
Other prizes in the annual CIE business plan competition went to:
• iCare — submitted by Levi Shumway, a senior accounting major from Centerville, Utah; and Charles "Chat" Clawson, a 2006 Information Systems graduate from Washington DC — second place (developed), $2,000. Their plan proposes establishing "an iPod™ rental service for hospital goers" where the popular devices can be custom programmed.
• 100 Dishes Asian Buffet — by Ha Le, a senior in International Business Management and Quang Bui, a 2006 Information Systems graduate...both from Viet Nam — second place (developing), $2,000. They want to establish a restaurant in their hometown of Hanoi that serves Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese dishes. Ha Le said she and her partner have been training in food service at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
• Kumul Internet Café — submitted by Edward Alembo, a sophomore accounting major and Andy Pagere, a senior Information Systems major... both from Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea — The Founder's Award, $1,000. Pagere explained there is high demand but limited access to the Internet as yet in their home country; and Alembo said his first contact with the Church came over the Internet: "I want to go back and help my people, the same way I had help."
CIE Director Gregory V. Gibson described the annual business competition as "the culmination of the conference," and pointed out there were a total of 49 plans submitted this year. "We thank our visiting entrepreneurs. We really appreciate it."
Entrepreneurs-in-residence Elder Jim Sheffield, a service missionary, donated the prizes for the "developing economy" prizes; and the CIE provided the remaining "developed economy" prizes.