Vlerick team wins two awards at the European Business Plan of the Year Competition

Vlerick full-time MBA students Lina Victoria Ramirez, Mauricio Rangel and Angela Maria Pineda Osorio have won both the Sustainability Award as well as the Elevator Pitch Award at the 19th European Business Plan of the Year Competition (EBPYC), which was hosted this year by Cranfield School of Management in the UK. The Vlerick team participated in the competition with their Eco Tree business proposition, a pioneering forestry company that develops sustainable teak plantations in Colombia as a profitable business with a highly social and environmental impact. The competition was won by the Cranfield team with a new concept for Italian dining.

Vlerick Professor Miguel Meuleman, who coached the students: “We are very proud of this achievement. They did an excellent job. I have a lot of respect for their professional attitude and the fact that they help to spread the entrepreneurial spirit of our School.”

The EBPYC which is designed to encourage entrepreneurship and the creation of new ventures, attracted fifteen entries from Europe’s leading business schools, from which the most commercially-promising and innovative business ideas were selected. The Vlerick MBA-students competed against teams from other top business schools such as IESE, London Business School, Imperial College and EM Lyon. Following last year’s competition six businesses were launched, so there’s a good change we will hear more from these Vlerick students once they have graduated in September!

Watch the winning Elevator Business Pitch.

Here’s what the Vlerick team has to say about their achievement.

Mauricio Rangel: “Angela and I want to start our own company. So when we decided to do an MBA, we chose Vlerick because of its entrepreneurial spirit.”

Lina Victoria Ramirez had the same objective when starting her MBA: “I happened to meet Mauricio and Angela, a couple that wanted as well to pursue the entrepreneurial path after Vlerick. We talked about the idea they had in mind, and I liked it immediately.”

Mauricio Rangel: “Since Angela and I wanted our business plan to be implemented in real life we felt that the European Business Plan of the Year Competition was the best way to test it and receive feedback for its development. We teamed up with Lina and thanks to the constant feedback and support from both professor Hans Crijns as well as professor Miguel Meuleman, we were able to develop and build our Eco Tree idea into a solid business plan.”

Despite not being able to physically travel to the UK for the competition due to visa delays, they managed to participate anyway using the latest technological solutions to communicate directly with the organisation in Cranfield. And they did a great job presenting their business plan.

Lina Victoria Ramirez: “Explaining a business plan in a 3 minutes elevator pitch is not easy. With his experience, professor Meuleman taught us what was the most important thing to say and how to present it.”

Mauricio Rangel: “We chose Angela who is a natural presenter as the orator. She did a great job and was able to deliver the message in a convincing and clear way. As for the sustainability price, our business model is based on sustainability so we had a strong chance of winning it.”

Lina Victoria Ramirez: “Definitely this is a new step in my career. The start of Eco Tree will give me a new opportunity to keep developing my skills and will initiate me in another stage of my business ambitions. This is not only important for us, but also for our country Colombia as we will promote reforestation activities that are key to the environment and will attract more investors to the country.”

Mauricio Rangel: “It feels great to be able to win two of the five prices in the competition. The support from Prof. Miguel Meuleman was key in order for us to qualify to the finals and retrieve these two prices. Definitely this experience will help us on our career, not only the possibility to have these awards and achievements in our CV but also the opportunity to start Eco Tree after the MBA. Currently we have been talking to investors and there are good leads for our business plan. Hopefully the world will hear from Eco Tree soon.”

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