CASE: Agora Partnerships
The MHBSC client in 2011 was Agora Partnerships. Agora Partnerships is a company that helps growing businesses fight poverty in developing countries. It is able to do this through providing fiscal and consulting support to selected entrepreneurs. Its founder, Ben Powell, an alum of Columbia University and Georgetown University, and Ashoka Fellow, was drawn toward founding Agora after he realized the power of small businesses in impacting the development of poor communities while running a miniature golf course and bar in Mexico. Through his vision and the support of his extraordinary staff, Agora has been able to make great strides.
On the weekend of February 24-26, 2011, a whole new level of competitiveness and innovation was reached in terms numbers of teams and type of client. 20 teams, the highest number of teams in the history of the BSC, made their way to the hilltop. These included: McGill University, Baylor College, University College Dublin Ireland, Northeastern University, Boston College, American University, University of Michigan, Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown University, Florida State University, University of Florida, New York University, and Emory University. The client this year was Agora Partnerships, a company based in DC and various Latin American countries, which helps social entrepreneurs within these countries reach their full potential through fiscal and consulting support. The emerging “Impact Entrepreneur” market of Latin American countries was stressed in the case and participating teams had to come up with two solutions: 1) How can Agora Partnerships create a sustainable funding model for the new “Accelerator” Program, which strives to identify the impact entrepreneurs with most potential and 2) How can Agora Partnerships connect with university campuses to build sustainable connections.
The planning committee worked day and night to make the competition a reality and when it all came together graciously through the sponsorships of KPMG, Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, AARP, and a donation from Corp Philanthropy, the team was overjoyed to finally be able to see the fruits of their efforts.
MHBSC 2011 helped Agora come up with a finance model for the new Accelorator model, which helps Agora Partnerships identify the Impact Entrepreneurs with highest potential and also come up with a plan to help involve universities in the mission Agora is on: helping Impact entrepreneurs do their best no matter what the economic circumstance of their communities or countries.
Carnegie Mellon University
Florida State University
McGill University (Montreal, Canada)
New York University
St. Johns University
Quinn School of Business (Dublin, Ireland)
University of Florida
University of Louisville
University of Michigan
University of Scranton
University of Washington
University of Western Ontario (London, Canada)
Washington University in St. Louis
PLANNING COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
Director: Nehal Shukla
Assistant Director: Perry Rogers
Directors of Sponsorship: Vicky Wang and Milan Patel
Directors of Team Relations: Stephanie Kreusser and Katy McConnell
Directors of Logistics: James Kim, Yun Ling, and Cici Luo
Directors of Judging: Jason Chen and Kai Ding
Directors of Marketing: Lauren Kim and Kai Fang
Case-Writers: Cigdem Eskiocak and Rui Huang
WINNERS & SELECTED PRESENTATIONS:
1st Place: McGill University
2nd Place: Northeastern University