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Barney School of Business Holds International Business Plan Competition


Posted 05/31/2012
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Category: Campus Announcements

Donna Haghighat presenting her winning business plan.
Donna Haghighat presenting her winning business plan.

Om Ramrakhiani was a third place finisher.
Om Ramrakhiani was a third place finisher.

Malissa D'Souza was a finalist in the International Business Plan Competition.
Malissa D'Souza was a finalist in the International Business Plan Competition.

Competition organizers (l-r): Assistant Dean Annette Rogers, Associate Professor Charles Canedy III, Associate Professor Irina Naoumova, TV Studio Coordinator Dan McNamara, Dean James Fairfield-Sonn, Om Ramrakhiani '12, and International Team of Judges Chair Fred Wergeles
Competition organizers (l-r): Assistant Dean Annette Rogers, Associate Professor Charles Canedy III, Associate Professor Irina Naoumova, TV Studio Coordinator Dan McNamara, Dean James Fairfield-Sonn, Om Ramrakhiani '12, and International Team of Judges Chair Fred Wergeles

WELFund grants and program manager and Communications graduate student Donna Haghighat was the winner of the Barney School’s third annual International Business Plan Competition, which was held from April 26-27 and on May 3.

Haghighat was one of more than 100 student competitors from the University of Hartford and schools in Ireland, Taiwan, Finland, Peru, Nigeria and the United States. The judges and the competitors interacted via the advanced videoconferencing system in the Barney School’s Mali Global Center.

Haghighat was recognized for her website “Shoptimize,” which sells products from women-led companies and gives at least one percent of its after-tax profits to nonprofits dedicated to advancing women. The site enables customers to save time by getting their shopping done in one place. Visit shoptimize.org.

Recent Barney School graduate Om Ramrakhiani also placed near the top, earning a share of third place. He submitted a business plan for a tea-brokering company called “Zedco,” which aims to fill the deficit in the small tea trade market. By utilizing methods such as reverse auctioning, the company works to get the best combination of quality and price for its clients.

Malissa D’Souza, another recent Barney graduate, was a finalist for her “Tibbouza Soap Soccer” plan. D’Souza’s idea is based on a game that is becoming popular overseas. It involves constructing an inflatable field, covering it with soap and water, and then bringing in competitors to play soccer on the slippery surface.

Other top ideas included the “OTG Bar,” based on the idea of online customization of the energy bars and sales (University College, Ireland); “Recreation Center Ellada,” a recreation center that represents an elegant use of natural resources, such as spring water, and focuses on promoting diversity of Ukrainian heritage (Kharkiv Polytechnic University, Ukraine); and “Bio-Hartford” which will use already-patented technology for fast and efficient diagnostics of streptococcus infection (National University of Tainan, Taiwan).

Donna Haghighat presenting her winning business plan.
Donna Haghighat presenting her winning business plan.

Om Ramrakhiani was a third place finisher.
Om Ramrakhiani was a third place finisher.

Malissa D'Souza was a finalist in the International Business Plan Competition.
Malissa D'Souza was a finalist in the International Business Plan Competition.

Competition organizers (l-r): Assistant Dean Annette Rogers, Associate Professor Charles Canedy III, Associate Professor Irina Naoumova, TV Studio Coordinator Dan McNamara, Dean James Fairfield-Sonn, Om Ramrakhiani '12, and International Team of Judges Chair Fred Wergeles
Competition organizers (l-r): Assistant Dean Annette Rogers, Associate Professor Charles Canedy III, Associate Professor Irina Naoumova, TV Studio Coordinator Dan McNamara, Dean James Fairfield-Sonn, Om Ramrakhiani '12, and International Team of Judges Chair Fred Wergeles