On February 26, I had the privilege of of attending the 2012 Social Enterprise Conference at Harvard to support our very own Rotman Morning MBA 2012 team as semi-finalists in the Pitch for Change competition.
The Pitch for Change competition is a business plan competition that is focused on an “elevator pitch” for a new social enterprise venture. OyeIndia, our Rotman team, was selected as a semi-finalist and invited to compete at the conference.
It was an intense competition and although they did not advance to the next round, they received a lot of valuable feedback and we all learned a lot from watching the other pitches.
Even though we were sleep deprived and slightly more than exhausted, it was really a great opportunity to network with the other finalists, panel judges and organizers. I personally was able to connect with others from many different areas of North America all focused on social enterprise. It was inspiring to watch the other pitches and see how far several of the finalists had taken their concepts. As Dorothy Engelman noted in her recent Entrepreneurship 101 session at MaRsDD: “the idea is not the big idea, execution is the big idea”. I was impressed at how well the other competitors could execute on their ideas.
I was also impressed with how supportive Rotman is in encouraging students to not only compete in various competitions but attend conferences during their time at the school. I was so pleased to find out that they take an active interest in supporting students to travel and attend events outside of Rotman to promote the school but also learn from others and have that be a part of our educational experience.
My advice to others who are attending conferences and/or participating in competitions: take full advantage of the opportunity and make every effort to attend the workshops and speakers that you are interested in and connect with those around you. No matter how tired you may be (and you will be!), you can always learn something. Don’t feel forced to attend the events that you think you “should” attend; go to the ones that you want to. Passion for social enterprise was very high at the conference and the competition which is a huge factor in any successful execution.
And don’t worry, you can still support OyeIndia through the Dell Social Innovation Challenge! Their concept is working with directly with artisans, to empower them to turn their talents into a sustainable business and allow their children to attend school.
Great job Avi, Bike & Kyle!
Oh and have I mentioned how beautiful the Harvard campus is?