Bigger Harvest Than Money

PROVO, Utah – Aug 12, 2019 – Forbes reports that nine out of ten startup companies end in failure. BYU Marriott’s Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology is working to change that statistic through its International Business Model Competition (IBMC).  

The Rollins Center created the IBMC to help students around the world become better entrepreneurs. The knowledge students gain from the competition has helped build successful businesses globally, in places such as the United States, Cambodia, Japan, and Jamaica. 

The IBMC’s business model is focused on the idea that there is a pain point, or challenge, that needs to be solved. This methodology requires entrepreneurs to get out from behind their computer screens and talk to people about ways to make their lives easier. Since embracing this business model in 2010, the Rollins Center has seen an increase in entrepreneurship success.   

After the center adopted this method, The Princeton Review has consistently ranked BYU Marriott’s Rollins Center as one of the top five entrepreneurship centers for undergraduate degrees in the United States. “BYU Marriott wants to be a standard bearer to the world on how valuable entrepreneurship is,” says Rollins Center associate director Jeff Brown. “We want to be identified as using the best principles and methodologies to educate smarter entrepreneurs, and we are using the IBMC as the vehicle to get that message out to the world.” 

The main focus of the IBMC is to educate. “We believe smarter entrepreneurs launch better companies,” says Brown. The IBMC is a two-day competition where students spend the entire first day listening to and learning from leaders in the entrepreneurial industry.  

Students across the globe compete in the IBMC and learn from successful entrepreneurs. “The presentation instruction given by famous entrepreneurs before the start of the competition was extremely beneficial,” says Japan student Hideyuki Akashi.  

Taylor Phoo from Cambodia agreed. “The speakers taught us the secret sauce of building a prosperous business,” she says.   

The budding entrepreneurs who participate in the IBMC learn how to improve their business plans as they interact with successful leaders and gain ideas from fellow students. Akashi and his team members learned what they could do to continue to grow their company. “Our team did not get the results we wanted at the IBMC,” says Akashi. “We realized that we need to think about how to communicate the internationally common challenges our business can solve and highlight issues that are specific to that country. This discovery was a much bigger harvest for us than money.” 

The teams that compete in the IBMC walk away with more than just prize money. Seiya Ashikari from Japan saw the benefit of competing in the IBMC. “The IBMC was my first experience presenting my business plan overseas,” he says. “I was able to confirm that my business has the potential to be global, and I felt the splendor of doing business around the world.” 

The IBMC is helping build the local and national economy in the United States, as well as in the countries of the competing students. The Utah market has seen a flood of new entrepreneurs since the start of the IMBC. “It is not a coincidence that since using the new business model in 2010, I-15 is littered with billboards of companies started by BYU students,” says Brown. “Many of them are unicorn companies, which means they are valued at least a billion dollars.” 

In Cambodia, the entrepreneurship eco-system has rapidly expanded over the last seven years since participating in the IBMC. “The IBMC has had an impact on students in the Mekong Region of Cambodia as an increasing number of students create businesses and social ventures,” says Stephen Paterson, dean at National University of Management International College in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. “More students are viewing entrepreneurship as a future career path.” 

Japan and Jamaica have also seen an increase in entrepreneurship achievements. “The IBMC woke up a sleeping giant in Jamaica,” says Brown. “The students have been hungry for this type of business model. It has been incredible to see how good their teams are.” Students from Japan have created an incubation center that helps accelerate and grow successful entrepreneurial businesses.  

Research has found that entrepreneurship is the key to helping an economy grow. “Studies show that when you increase the number of entrepreneurs in a country, the GDP grows perfectly with it,” Brown explains. “We believe entrepreneurship is a major piece that will solve some of the world’s biggest problems.” 

Students from Japan competing in the IBMC. Photo courtesy of Takeru Ohe.
Students from Japan competing in the IBMC. Photo courtesy of Takeru Ohe.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Nikaela Smith