A group of students on Lancaster University’s MSc Project Management have won a national competition to test students’ entrepreneurship skills.
The winners, Team CareForYou – consisting of Yue Zhang, Andrew Smith, Elina Ioannou, and Chia-Ming Kuo, impressed the judges with their pitch for a for a people-centred, technology-supported, stay- at-home care service for the Chinese market, where there is huge demand for services similar to the UK community care model.
The team won £6,000 in cash and an opportunity to access further support from China and the UK to grow their business.
Another Lancaster team, Team Finno, came third in the competition, taking home £2,000.
Now in its ninth year, the national university-based competition was started by the Lancaster China Management Centre. More than 60 teams entered, and were whittled down to the final four through three elimination rounds.
The final was hosted by Xiao Liang, deputy general manager, Bank of China, at their London headquarters.
Yue said: “It is a very proud moment for myself and the whole team. We could not have worked harder to achieve this incredible result.
“I personally was pretty confident from the very start that we could go all the way and win this competition because I knew we had been working so hard. We came up with this exclusive business idea at the beginning and after each phase we grew into confidence.
“The idea itself grew as well and became increasingly comprehensive as we kept on progressing to the next stage.
“I feel extremely happy for this achievement and for me it is a significant milestone in my academic career and I believe it is the same for the whole team.
“All of the team’s hard work has been paid off finally.
“I would like to conclude by saying thanks to my whole team and all the input and support from Prof David Brown, our strategic partner Rinicare, programme director Neil Ralph and Management School as well as all the people who have been involved in this business plan especially my father who is of immense value. Without any of them, we would not have achieved what we have.”
Prof Brown from the Lancaster China Management Centre, who was the non-voting chair of the judges, said: “The achievement of both Lancaster teams is remarkable. The competition is highly competitive with three previous elimination rounds.
“Judges this year included four investment bankers from the city of London.
“In the last nine years Lancaster has only ever had one team reach the finals. Student interest in this year’s competition was exceptional with 16 entries from across the campus.”
The competition doesn’t end here for the students – an identical competition is run in China and the two national teams will meet later in the year.