Our team from National Taiwan University (NTU) won the top prize at the 2016-17 Competition of Entrepreneurship for Sustainability. The contest is to create profitable businesses that achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Our concept, OM Share Charging, is a platform business model targeting the light electric vehicle (LEV) industry with a battery exchange system.
I’d like to tell you more about plans for OM, but there’s still a lot of work ahead of us. Also, Shyam fathered the idea (I took on the finance and PR roles). For now, we’re spending weekends absorbing an elective course at National Chengchi University on sustainability practices in European industries, before flying to Europe in April to see these in action. Our prize covers the trip and the course to Italy, Switzerland, and France. In broad strokes:
- We are utilizing the unique capabilities of Taiwan technology partners to grow the LEV industry. This is good for the environment, the future of transportation, and the Taiwanese economy.
- Our business model benefits all our stakeholders. Including, those at the bottom of the economic pyramid.
- The pilot we propose targets a smart city, and provides last-mile connectivity to help complete the city’s vision. I know that’s vague. It’s simply too soon to say more. Stay tuned.
- OM fulfills five of the United Nations’ 17 SDGs. Good Health, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption, and Climate Action.
- I’ll need one hell of a refresher course in French before we fly over. Merde.
Why Should You Sign Up for the ‘Competition of Entrepreneurship for Sustainability’
Networking! You’ll meet entrepreneurial young people from other universities who are interested in business and sustainability. At this moment in history, governments, companies, and citizens are aligned on the importance of taking care of the environment.
Business Plan. Get more experience putting together a business plan and refining it. This is a useful skill whether you start a company, because you’ll also use it to create any kind of business proposal. Also, Taiwan has a lot to offer. You’ll begin realizing it a little more when you start looking for ways Taiwan can produce sustainable businesses.
Industry Connections. The Competition of Entrepreneurship for Sustainability does an impressive job of bringing together executives to be judges and/or serve as consultants to the teams. A partial list of the people we met include:
Leaders from KPMG’s Sustainability Consulting practice, KPMG Transaction Services, Delta Electronics (One of Tesla’s OEMs), Delta Electronics Foundation, Ford Lio Ho Motor, Leopard Mobile, Ogilvy, HSBC, as well as several venture capitalists, chief strategy and chief technology officers.
In other words, these are the people I came to Taiwan hoping to meet.
The Big Prize
First prize is more work! Such is life and yes, if you win, it means you’ll have more work to do to prepare for the European trip.
- Learning about the companies you’ll visit
- Researching their strategies and reading their sustainability reports
- Reading industry reports from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development on current trends
- Refining your business plan into something for sharing
And the fun stuff, too. Checking out what each city has to offer… A few days of tourism…
But, the learning opportunity is unique. The class is taught by National Chengchi University professors and professionals, like Dr. Huang. You travel with them. And then you spend a few weeks meeting the executives who are actually making these strategies happen, at company headquarters. The knowledge and connections is what I really want a MBA education to be like, and I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to being in the same room as these industry leaders.
April 1. See you in Europe.