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Dean's Cup BIG Competition Celebrates Entrepreneurship with Star-Studded Mentoring Team

17 May, 2023
img HKBU School of Business organised the Dean’s Cup Business Innovation Gymnasium (BIG) semi-final competition on 17 May 2023, gathering 16 teams of aspiring HKBU students and inspiring mentors from different business sectors to pitch their innovative ideas. The grand final will be conducted on 1 June 2023, where the finalists will compete for the top three awards.

Dr. Marta Dowejko, Director of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Centre of the HKBU School of Business, welcomed the students, mentors, and judges. “500+ students have been trained by the BIG competition over the years, sharing their forward-thinking and inspiring ideas that could be carried forward in the future. Thank you for all your efforts and dedications, I hope this authentic experience would be one of the highlights of your student life at HKBU.”

Inaugurated in 2017, the eighth edition of the competition underwent a serious revamp and has been transformed into a startup bootcamp. Starting from this year, it offers a strong mentoring component with the aim to upskill students through immersive and interactive learning provided by a team of dedicated mentors. The competition attracted 70 submissions from HKBU student teams across faculties for the preliminary round, and 19 were selected to enter the semi-finals. A “speed-matching” event was conducted in April for the students to meet the 27 star mentors. The event offered a chance for students and mentors to get to know each other, find their match, and kickstart their experiential learning journey together. The mentor-mentee teams spent the next month to prepare and refine their proposals and pitch decks.

The semi-finals judging panel, consisting of Prof. Howard Ling, Professor of Practice of the HKBU School of Business, Ms. Bonnie Chow, Managing Director of PlanB Consultancy, Mr. Eddie Rong, Co-founder of Bloom Rewards Limited, and Mr. Caric Hon, Visiting Lecturer of the HKBU School of Business, was moved by the teams’ presentations, complimenting on the ideas’ thoroughness and feasibility and on the teams’ confidence in pitching. Prof. Howard Ling encouraged the students to persist and implement their ideas, as grit and persistence are amongst the most important skills to succeed in the business world.

The judges were not the only ones to be impressed with students’ performance. Two teams left the event with investment and business acquisition offers coming from mentors and their networks, while many others secured internships and cooperation opportunities with major industry players.

The six finalists have been selected to enter the Grand Final to be held on 1 June, which will provide another round of invaluable opportunities for the students to connect with the startup ecosystem of the GBA and further refine their communication and pitching skills.
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