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Local Young Entrepreneurs Business Plan Competition - TYE Goes Global

Nirmala Garimella

Local Young Entrepreneurs business plan Competition - TYE  goes Global

 TiE Boston young Entrepreneurs business plan competition, TYE– from which one high-school team walks away with a $10,000 prize – became a global competition among high schools students recently. In 2009, TiE Global leaders, Arjun Malhotra, Chairman and Suren Dutia, CEO, announced that TYE will be recognized as a TiE Global program, by creating a platform to initiate the program in TiE chapters, worldwide.  They further announced that Geetha Ramamurthy to lead the TYE Global program as Chair along with Somnath Chatterjee as Co-chair.

 TYE Global program has received seed funding from TiE Global organization, Kaufman Foundation and participating chapters. It aspires to roll the program out to 53 TiE chapters in 15 countries in the next five years, strives to develop partnerships with global institutions, foundations and garner support from TiE Members at large and continue to support and realize TiE’s mission.  TYE is committed to nurture future budding entrepreneurs.

 At the recent TYE Awards night at TiECON east, Geetha Ramamurthy said “This is a moment of pride for TYE and for TiE-Boston.  The students are the true stars and they make us proud.   We appreciate the support of parents, speakers, teachers, mentors and judges.  My special thanks to the members of the organizing team and our partner, the TiE office staff led by Vanita Shastri, Executive Director.  Their collective passion, dedication and hard work contribute to the program success year after year”. 

 Started in 2005 as an idea by two high school students, Shyam Ramamurthy and Prabhod Sunkara was conceptualized and implemented by Geetha Ramamurthy, the then Executive Director of TiE-Boston with the support of Vinit Nijhawan, then TiE- Boston President.  Ms. Ramamurthy has lead the TYE program as Chair since its inception.  TYE program received attention in 2007 and 2008 by the national media for receiving the TiE Global Award in the most successful involvement of young entrepreneurs category.

 The education program is designed to help young people learn how to be entrepreneurs and discover the rewards and excitement of taking an idea, developing it into a viable, scalable business model and then presenting the business plan to a group of judges who are VCs and entrepreneurs to compete annually as a team for a $10k cash prize.

 The program consists of a six month curriculum which includes three months of class room instruction followed by three months of workshops on Saturdays. The classes include inspirational talks by successful entrepreneurs followed by lectures and interactive discussion on business related topics. Workshops are designed to help students think of what it takes to run a business and then practice how to present their business plan and develop their soft skills. Each participating team receives comprehensive support by a dedicated mentor to help them prepare for the final competition.

 Naman Bharadwaj and Vishrut Gupta, of Cloudsoft, the winners of 2009 $10k prize said“The lectures by entrepreneurs in the business world were a priceless resource. The workshops were even more exciting and provided us with hands-on experience and let us figure out how everything works. We learned the necessity to take risks and think big.The key to our winning the competition was our passion about our business idea.”

 This year’s sponsors for TYE included Microsoft, McDermott Eill Emery, Dunkin Brands, Starent Networks with grants from Cambridge Trust, Prashant Fadia Foundation, Desai Family Foundation. Donors included Mukesh Chatter, Santana Krishnan and Yash Shah. A partnership was initiated with OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) organization. Satish Jha, President, OLPC India donated five laptops to TYE Boston, which were used as second prize. 

 Patrick Noonan, co-chair of this year’s program, asked each student at the business plan competition to describe TyE in one word and summarized it as follows:  “For some, it was “entrepreneurial” and for others it was “innovative.” For me, there is truly only one word that can encapsulate the progress that these students made and the journey that they went through, and that word is “inspirational.”

One such example is Mark Bao, a 17 year old high school student from Wellesley, MA who started eight companies in the IT space and has already sold two of his companies. Mark attended the first TYE class of 2005-2006 and wants to continue to be a serial entrepreneur while attending college next year.

 Al Kapoor, President of TiE Boston concludes, “TYE is one of our great new programs. It takes our mission of entrepreneurial education, mentoring and networking to younger entrepreneurs”.

  The deadline to apply for the fall program in 2009 is August 14, 2009.  To apply please download the application from the following link http://tieyoungentrepreneurs.org

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