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【Honor】Multinational team wins the silver medal at the “2020 Digital Technology X Sustainable Development X Social Enterprise Proposal Contest”


For the “2020 Digital Technology X Sustainable Development X Social Enterprise Proposal Contest” (the sixth running of the contest), a team called “Avengers” was assembled by the IMAPA student Nohelia Rivera from Peru and master students from IBMBA including Jessica Lai (Lai Yan-Zhu) from Taiwan and Amanda Leigh, Blake Nipper, and Rachel Marie Law from the US.

The team conceived a project titled “EFIC English Education for Remote Areas of Taiwan”, which was created from a cultural and creative education perspective. They went through the preliminary round, taking their place among the 15 teams in the final, and won the silver medal with a remarkable performance.

There are two stages in the Digital Technology X Sustainable Development X Social Enterprise Proposal Contest. In the first stage, competitors need to pass a document review in order to win an opportunity to present their project to a venture capitalist. The team saw the design of the proposal as key to winning the competition. “We took our personal experiences and professional advantages as our starting point. Also, we combined the current policy of a ‘2030 bilingual country’ and wrote the program ‘English for the Indigenous Community in Taiwan’ to improve Taiwan's social issues, such as the uneven distribution of education resources and the exam-oriented English teaching method.”

The Social Enterprise Development & Research Center, which organizes the contest, held a “social business model innovation workshop” in the form of field trips to the Sunny Bubao factory and the Shanlin Gourd art workshop; this provided the finalist teams with a deeper understanding of the method for elaborating such models. One of the team members, Nohelia Rivera, explained that they gained a lot during this two-day-event. “We had a profound understanding that a successful social business must have a clear and complete organizational chart. Thus, we evaluated our proposal from the start to make a further revision against our feasibility and continuity.”

What makes a proposal favorable to venture capitalists?

The key is to present market research results and customer feedback with data. Jessica Lai explained that they performed multiple market tests on their product and distributed a questionnaire to collect information such as customers’ satisfaction levels, their willingness to purchase, and the amount they would pay for the product. Amanda Leigh added, “From the market tests, I realize that localized and customized English courses are effective at elevating learners' motivation to become skilled at the language. Besides, if foreign teachers speak Mandarin, it would be easy to become intimate with the students, which helps when planning the course. Certainly, financial planning cannot be ignored. The expenses and margin must be listed in the proposal.”

Rachel Marie Law explained that the diversity and experience of the team members constituted their most significant advantage. Although they came from different countries and backgrounds, they had the same goal, meaning that they could communicate effectively in order to brainstorm ideas in a more creative way. Although the competition is over, they are still planning to continue with the project. 

Lai gave special thanks to Professor Yih Jeng of the Department of Finance, Principal Gao Yu-shan of Gushan Elementary School, and Principal Kuo Qi-Hong of Shilong Elementary School. Their mindful guidance allowed the “Avengers” to stand out from the competition. To express their appreciation for all these instructors and venture capitalists, the team donated the entirety of their NT$20,000 prize to the Gushan Elementary School baseball fund, hoping to inspire the children in the baseball team to dream big and be valorous in the realization of these dreams.

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