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UCD places 3rd in Global Business School Network Africa Business Concept Challenge

  • Date: Fri, Apr 21, 2023

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Three students from UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School’s Global Leadership Programme joined two MBA students from Makerere University Business School in Uganda to participate in the Global Business School Network’s Africa Business Concept Challenge. 

The team placed third in the international challenge which saw 87 teams compete from 58 universities around the world. 

“As a new Global Business School Network (GBSN) member, we have been delighted to collaborate with Makerere University on the Africa Business Concept Competition and the success of the team is certainly an added bonus,” said Dr David Nyaluke, team mentor and UCD College of Business Proudly Made in Africa Fellow. “I am delighted that the team’s dedication was recognised and I congratulate the participants for their great team effort.” 

The Challenge, now in its third year, is designed to assist young people from the African continent who have an entrepreneurial orientation and a desire to serve their community, among other qualities. With a focus on promoting responsible business, the competition identifies high-potential young people for mentorship and investment. 

“On behalf of the School, I offer sincere congratulations to our team on their remarkable achievement,” said Dr Linda Dowling-Hetherington, team mentor and former Director of the Global Leadership Programme at UCD Smurfit School. “This was an outstanding example of collaboration at its very best and it has been fantastic to see our students collaborate with fellow students from Makerere University Business School.”

“We would also like to offer our gratitude to the team mentors, Dr David Nyaluke, Dr Sarah Kyejjusa, Makerere University Business School, as well as Dr Penelope Muzanenhamo, Assistant Professor in Marketing and Society, for their guidance and support through the School’s first engagement with the Challenge,” concluded Dr Dowling-Hetherington.

The combined team included UCD Smurfit School students Luca Massari, MSc Digital Innovation; Udit Raj, MSc Strategic Management; and Mohit Santani, MSc Strategic Management; and Lillian Nalubega,  MBA Project Management and Dennis Asiimwe, MBA Project Management, from Makerere University Business School.

“Involvement in this competition has been a great opportunity and it has been an honour to represent UCD Smurfit School,” said Luca Massari. “This makes my experience at UCD Smurfit School even more unforgettable and confirms that I made the right decision by choosing UCD out of so many European schools.”

The team developed Project M.I.A.S.C. (Made in Africa Speciality Coffee) and identified the following challenge: 

Uganda is the world’s 8th largest coffee producer, but only 10% of its coffee is processed locally. Despite being responsible for around 12% of global coffee production, the sector only contributes about 4.6% to Uganda’s GDP. 

Uganda’s coffee industry faces many challenges such as low wages for farmers, high unemployment, and low productivity, resulting in a failure to leverage the potential value of the industry. Climate change, deforestation, and unpredictable weather patterns further exacerbate the issue, impacting crop yields and quality, but these issues can also be addressed by focusing on organic speciality forest coffee farming  which supports tree care and planting. 

Analysing data from a local cooperative, the price of graded coffee ready for export is USD 2.1/Kg while the price of ready-to-take coffee fully processed is USD 5/kg. Our solution aims to fully process and make coffee at the source in Uganda. This will triple earnings, create needed jobs and promote sustainable practices.

The case supported UN Sustainable Development Goals: #1 No Poverty, #8 Decent Work, #10 Reduced Inequality, and #12 Responsible Consumption & Production. 

Read more about the project here

More about the competition

In its third year, the Africa Business Concept Challenge (ABCC) began with 87 teams from 58 universities in 17 African countries. The virtual business concept competition for African undergraduate and graduate students was sponsored by AACSB InternationalThe Swift InstituteThunderbird School of Global Management, and UConn School of Business, and supported by Peaqsemlyon business school, Association of African Business Schools, South African Business Schools Association (SABSA)Kenya Economics Students Association (KESA), and the Good Governance Academy. The competition challenges student teams to develop a viable business concept that addresses a locally-relevant challenge or problem related to Agenda 2063, and inclusive and sustainable development.

Read more about the Challenge here:


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