CSU, Chico News

Twelve Countries Represented in Ninth Annual Global Entrepreneurship Competition for Students

Date: 09-01-2011

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

National champion teams from 18 high schools representing 12 countries competed in the ninth annual Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE) World Cup tournament at Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y.

Teams from Nigerian schools won both of the first-place honors in the competition, which took place July 22-26.

SAGE’s founder and CEO is California State University, Chico accounting professor Curt DeBerg. Assisting him at the tournament were CSU, Chico juniors John Burke and Thabiso Mawema and recent CSU, Chico graduates Kyle Gyurina, Vanessa Nelson and Elizabeth Wendorf.

SAGE is an international network that links innovative teenagers to mentors from local universities and businesses. Its purpose is to create a global community of teenage entrepreneurs sharing a common purpose: to make the world a better place.

Schools were named first-place winners in two competitions in the tournament: social enterprise business and socially responsible business.

In the Socially Responsible Business (SRB) Competition, Zamani College from Kaduna, Nigeria, won for the invention of a game called “Gamzaki Cash Race,” which teaches primary school children how to use money wisely. The SAGE team has sold more than 2,500 sets of this board game to date, with a profit margin ranging from 48 to 61 percent, and has exported 500 sets to Zambia. It is currently processing an order of 1,000 sets to be exported to England.

Because of the success of the game and its marketing potential, the Zamani College students have redesigned the game with better packaging, using only recycled paper and other environmentally friendly products.

By winning the overall competition, Zamani College also won first place in The Grossman Family Award for Best Socially Responsible Business. The Gamzaki Cash Race game was produced on 100 percent recycled tissue paper. The award came with a plaque and $2,000 monetary prize.

The Grossman Family International Awards for Best Socially-Responsible Business are given to the top three teams competing in the SRB category. The awards are provided by Katie Gonser, Ken Grossman and the Grossman family in Chico. Winning teams have demonstrated success in developing and launching business enterprises that pursue financial goals while demonstrating environmentally sustainable business practices.

In addition to the Grossman Family, other local sponsors include the Sierra Health Foundation of Sacramento, Umpqua Bank, Target Corporation, Ray Morgan Company, the Rawlins Center for Environmental Literacy at CSU, Chico, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Mary Ginno, Cliff Neill and Richard Davis.

“The Zamani team has performed very well over the past five years, and it was nice to see them advance to the World Cup,” said DeBerg. “Nigeria is a powerhouse, and with a count of 550 active SAGE teams across the country, I expect that they will continue to be a force to be reckoned with.”

The three other countries advancing to the final round of the SRB competition were Canada, China and Ukraine.

In the Social Enterprise Business (SEB) Competition, Nigeria’s Junior Secondary School Jikwoyi-Abuja won first place for Project Digi-Smart, a digital publishing venture that produced a series of seven environmental storybooks. Among the titles are “Dirty Prince,” “A Better World” and “Mountain of Trash,” which are designed to teach primary school students about the importance of caring for the environment.

All of the books are written in English, and some of them include French and Hausa translations. Earnings from the business were over $1,800. Based on the team’s success, they have received the endorsement of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Environment and National Environmental Standard and Regulatory Enforcement Agency.

By winning the competition, the Jikwoyi-Abuja team came away with first-place honors in The Arthur Boschee and Evelyn Ball International Award for Social Enterprise. The victory came with a plaque and $2,000 award.

The three other countries advancing to the final round of the SEB competition were Canada, South Africa and the United States. The school representing the U.S. in the competition was Holy Angels Academy in Buffalo, N.Y.

DeBerg said the Jikwoyi team has won the World Cup four out of nine years, and demonstrates how Nigeria is setting the benchmark for how social enterprise can become institutionalized in an education system on a national basis.

In the competition, the high school teams were judged on marketplace viability, social impact, environmental stewardship and civic involvement. Following a 13-minute presentation, seven minutes were set aside for judges to ask questions of the presenters.

Other countries represented at the SAGE world event were Burundi, Great Britain, Ireland, Russia, Singapore and Zambia. Delegations from Ghana, Philippines and South Korea were unable to attend because of visa concerns or financial constraints.

DeBerg said, “Just like when high school teams compete inter-scholastically on the sporting pitch, the SAGE structure allows high school teams to compete with other schools based on the creativity of their socially-responsible businesses.”

DeBerg said his goal is to expand SAGE next year to include at least 20 participating countries and 40 competing delegations at the World Cup event. “With continued support from socially-responsible individuals, foundations and private sector companies, the sky is the limit for SAGE. I dream that the SAGE World Cup will someday become the creativity and sustainability Olympics for youth.”

Cities under consideration to host the summer 2012 world event include Dubai, Dublin, London, Rio de Janeiro and San Francisco, DeBerg said.

Additional information about SAGE can be found http://sageglobal.org, sending an e-mail to cdeberg@sageglobal.org or phoning 530-898-4824.

Founded in 1887, CSU, Chico is the second oldest CSU campus and one of the highest ranked master’s level public universities in the West. The University has 100 degree programs and majors through its seven colleges and five schools and more than 200 student organizations.