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Wireless ISP Wins 2014 China Business Model Competition

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SOURCE Robert H. Smith School of Business

University of Maryland's Smith School of Business and Peking University's Guanghua School of Management Host 9th Annual Event

COLLEGE PARK, Md., June 11, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- MBA students from the United States, China and Israel pitched their ideas for businesses in China, vying for $2,750 in cash prizes from the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business and Peking University in the 2014 China Business Model Competition. The annual competition is organized by the Smith School's Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship and host partner, Peking University's Guanghua School of Management in Beijing. Students from the Smith School traveled to Beijing to compete with their counterparts from Peking, Zhejiang University, and the Technion Israeli Institute of Technology.

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A cross-national team of students -- two from the Smith and two from Peking -- won the competition's $1,000 top prize with a pitch for Wireless ISP, a telecommunications business to bring better internet access to rural China. The competition, now in its ninth year, was the culmination of a business model and study abroad course to China for Smith MBA students, led by the Dingman Center.

"We are pleased to continue to offer this rich experiential learning opportunity to our students and students in China and Israel with our partners at the Guanghua School of Management," said Alexander Triantis, dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business. "This annual competition and study abroad experience gives MBA students a hands-on opportunity to apply critical thinking and entrepreneurial skills in new markets – experiences that are ultimately transferable to any organization."

Each finalist team was tasked with pitching a plan for a venture that would do business in China or leverage Chinese resources in some way. Second place and $500 went to a Smith School team for their plan for Say What?, a mobile app for credit card companies and luxury hotels to offer clients language and cultural assistance while travelling abroad. Third prize and $250 went to a Peking student team with a plan for Skill Fair, a platform to help large companies better hire skilled workers. The $250 audience choice award went to a team from Zhejing University with their plan for Kids Minding, a prototype toy car whose speed is determined by the level of concentration of the driver.

Additional finalist teams were recognized for best presentation, best use of cross-national resources, and the best use of the "lean startup" methodology. Judges included Smith School and Dingman Center leaders, and entrepreneurial experts from China.

The competition was the highlight of the Smith students' week of exploring venture creation and global operations in China's rapidly evolving economy. The trip was the conclusion of a three-credit course on global learning led by Brent Goldfarb, associate professor of management and entrepreneurship. The trip also included meetings with successful local entrepreneurs and visits to multinational corporations' manufacturing facilities to better understand the Chinese market.

In addition to leading study abroad experiences to China, the Smith School also offers an executive MBA degree program in Beijing with its partner, the University of International Business and Economics. In both its China and U.S. programs, entrepreneurship is a key area of focus for the Smith School. The school is internationally known for its entrepreneurship research and programs, ranking among the best in the world for its offerings, according to U.S. News & World Report and the Financial Times.

About the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship
The Dingman Center has been at the forefront of entrepreneurship education and practice for more than 25 years. The Center's primary activities include helping students build their ventures, creating experiential learning opportunities and providing regional entrepreneurs with access to capital. Key programs for University of Maryland students include Pitch Dingman, weekly walk-in sessions to pitch business ideas to experienced entrepreneurs for feedback, Cupid's Cup, an annual business competition sponsored by Under Armour founder Kevin Plank, and the China Business Model Competition, an annual competition and global studies trip in partnership with Peking University. Within the region, the Center operates Dingman Center Angels, the area's most active angel investor network with more than 40 members and 30 companies funded since 2005. More information is available at www.rhsmith.umd.edu/dingman.

About the Robert H. Smith School of Business
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, MS in business, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

CONTACT: Greg Muraski
301-405-5283
gmuraski@rhsmith.umd.edu

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