Ileana Exaras, ’18, a Global Union intern, was born in New York, moved to Greece when she was 6 years old and moved back to the United States at age 14. Through her global experiences and interest in international affairs, she developed the idea for Lehigh’s Global Entrepreneurship Competition.
The competition took place Wednesday, giving students an opportunity to showcase investment potential in the country of their choice.
Students were presented a hypothetical situation: Facebook is expanding its operation and locating its secondary headquarters outside of the United States. Participants had to select a country and prepare a marketing proposal for a panel of four judges.
Participants competed in teams and gave 10-minute pitch presentations of their marketing proposals to a panel of judges. Three teams competed in the competition — each consisted of one to three members. The winning team received $150 worth of merchandise from the Lehigh bookstore.
The judging panel was comprised of Global Union executive board members Savannah Boylan, ’15, and Madina Kurmasheva, ’15, as well as Stephanie Panayiotou, ’16, and Ryan Kautz, ’17, of the Business Club. The panel hoped to see student participants focus on creativity and innovation. The panel did not judge competitors on their style and presentation techniques, but rather on the academia showcased in their solutions.
Exaras said the goal of creating the event was to enhance students’ marketing and public speaking skills.
“I want to offer them not just a monetary reward, but an enriching experience in promotion and entrepreneurship,” Exaras said. “I want to take advantage of all the opportunities that come my way. The Global Entrepreneurship Competition combines my passion for the international arena and for entrepreneurship.”
The Global Union, a coalition of over 50 student-led clubs and organizations that advocate for cultural understanding and awareness, chose global entrepreneurship as a topic because of its importance to students of all majors.
“Global entrepreneurship is a rising trend and will be relevant to many students since we are interconnected,” Boylan said. “Students should feel empowered to develop solutions to problems across the world.”
This competition is a part of the various events that the Global Union sponsors on and around campus. This past November, the Global Union hosted a similar competition involving child mortality as the focal point. The program seeks to illustrate the importance of the value that all countries possess in the global marketplace. In the future, the Global Union has plans to continue to host competitions on campus.
“We put an emphasis on bringing speakers and events that were relevant to a wider range of students since the world is becoming more interconnected,” said Kurmasheva. “From events like culture nights throughout the semester to our bigger events such as how to do business in Asia, these events help students gain more competitive skills.”
Stefan Harrigan, ’18, was one of the participants in the competition. His presentation focused on why Facebook should move its headquarters to Austria. His presentation won the competition.
“These events give real-world experience as well as a fun way to learn about why things happen globally and nationally,” Kautz said.