European Business Plan of the Year Competition 2011
The European Business Plan of the Year Competition at Cranfield was a really well organised event, and the facilities on campus were perfect for the event. All participants stayed at the on-campus hotel, meals were on-site, and the meeting facilities were great. Participants even had the chance to go on a helicopter ride!
The quality of the competition was outstanding, and the first prize, which went to the host, was certainly deserved. Unfortunately, we did not make it to the final round. Nonetheless, the team was extremely satisfied with our submission and presentations. While the judges were certainly convinced of the market gap, it appeared as though they were not entirely convinced of our revenue-generation model. Interestingly, the model that they appeared to be keen on was the same as our initial model. However, the team actually decided to move away from that model during our model generation process. Perhaps, it came down to focus. The team wanted to set up a company with extremely low overheads and high margins, with growth arising from network effects. On the other hand, the judges seemed to have wanted a different value proposition, one that would involve overheads one or two order of magnitudes higher. While the returns would conceivably be commensurately higher, the space that such a service would occupy would have been harder to differentiate from the existing competition.
Perhaps the only negative that I have is that the elevator pitch award went to a team which sent in their elevator pitch as a pre-recorded video. Not only is there no pressure of performing in front of a live audience, but there are questions of when it was recorded, and how many times. Perhaps the organisers did account for this, but it was not communicated properly to everyone else.
All in all, it was certainly a worthwhile experience, and I look forward to giving input to next years St. Gallen team.