Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

April 22, 2005

Whitworth Team with International Flair Named Finalist in Business-Plan Competition

What do you get when a student from India teams up with a student from Germany to develop a business plan to help a Palestinian refugee rebuild his art career, and the students receive training in the Whitworth School of Global Commerce & Management's Master of International Management Program as well as guidance from an established entrepreneur from Britain?

Among other things, you get a finalist in a regional business-plan competition sponsored by Gonzaga University's Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program in collaboration with the Eastern Washington University Center for Entrepreneurial Activities and the Whitworth School of Global Commerce & Management.

Suman Polepaka of India and Tobias Mayer of Germany created a business plan called Al Hayek Arts that was one of three finalists selected for the community-based category of the competition. Plans were judged based on 10 criteria, including social return on investment, feasibility, scalability, funding and quality of the operating and financial plans. Final Results will be announced at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 29, in the Globe Room in Cataldo Hall at Gonzaga, with $7,500 going to the first-place team, $3,500 for second place and $1,500 for third place. Results also will be announced in the student-generated and social-enterprise categories.

Polepaka and Mayer, who are both enrolled in Whitworth's MIM program, built a three-stage, business-development plan that was motivated originally by their desire to help restore the once-flourishing art business of Bassam Al Hayek, a Palestinian Christian, who emigrated to the United States two years ago after his business was destroyed. The students say they relied on marketing, management and financing skills from their educational training but also on the real-world guidance of Whitworth's entrepreneur-in-residence, Nigel Davey, a British émigré with a long and successful business and venture capital career in the region.

"It is significant from a globalization standpoint that a Christian university in the U.S. brought together students from Germany and India, under the tutelage of a Brit, to help a Palestinian artist-businessman regain his livelihood," says Kyle Usrey, dean of Whitworth's School of Global Commerce & Management.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls 2,400 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.


Kyle Usrey, dean, Whitworth School of Global Commerce & Management, (509) 777-4721 or kusrey@whitworth.edu.

Greg Orwig, director of communications, (509) 777-4580 or gorwig@whitworth.edu.

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