JUDGES

The Tibetan Innovation Challenge is a new intercollegiate social entrepreneurship business plan contest, organized by the University of Rochester, aiming to improve the lives of Tibetans living in refugee camps in India through self-sustaining and replicable business ideas.

 2017 JUDGES

Jeff Hoffman is a successful entrepreneur and motivational speaker. In his career, he has been the founder of multiple startups, he has been the CEO of both public and private companies, and he has served as a senior executive in many capacities. Jeff has been part of a number of well-known companies, including Priceline.com, uBid.com, CTI, ColorJar, and more.

Today Jeff serves on the boards of companies in the US, Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia. He supports entrepreneurs and small businesses on a worldwide basis, serving on the global advisory boards of Global Entrepreneurship Week (supporting entrepreneurship in over 130 countries), the US State Department’s GIST program (Global Innovation through Science and Technology, working in 49 emerging nations), the APEC Startup Initiative (the Asia Pacific Economic Council’s 21-member nation association), and many others. He supports the White House, the State Department, USAID, and similar organizations internationally on economic growth initiatives and entrepreneurship programs.

Jeff is a frequent keynote speaker, having been invited to speak in over 50 countries. He speaks on the topics of innovation, entrepreneurship, and business leadership, and is currently writing a book on how to scale a business, which will be published worldwide in the summer of 2014. Jeff also teaches innovation workshops to major corporations on a regular basis.

Jeff is a featured business expert seen on Fox News, Fox Business, CNN, CNN International, Bloomberg News, CNBC, ABC, and NPR, and in publications including Forbes, Inc., Time, Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal, and more.

Jeff received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the national CEO council for his contributions to the field of entrepreneurship, as well as receiving the 2012 Champion of Entrepreneurship Award from JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, and Rising Tide Capital.

Outside of the world of technology, Jeff has produced movies in Hollywood, has produced musical events including concerts, tours, and charity events with such artists as Elton John, Britney Spears, NSYNC, and others, and serves on numerous charity and non-profit boards.

Entrepreneur
Priceline.com, uBid.com, CTI, ColorJar

Kate McElligott

Kate currently serves as the Director of Strategic Development at the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) where she is responsible for developing partnerships to fuel the growth of the small and growing business (SGB) sector in emerging markets. Kate joined ANDE with ten years of experience in relationship management, business development, and marketing for global development and social enterprise. She previously served as Senior Manager, Thought Leadership and Strategic Partnerships at Grameen Foundation where she worked for five years garnering resources for economic development, mobile technology, and livelihood programs. Early in her career Kate spent a year volunteering in China as part of the Harvard Kennedy School’s WorldTeach program, and ran several capital campaigns as a consultant for CCS Fundraising. She currently serves on the Board of Directors at Prosperity Catalyst, an organization incubating social enterprises in Iraq and Haiti. She’s also a Senior Adviser to Hooks Book Events, and Adviser to RESET women’s retreats. Kate graduated from the American University with an M.A. in Social Enterprise. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Providence College.

Director of Strategic Development,
Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE)

Tashi Nangsetsang was born in 1966 in Dharamsala, Northern India. He was only 6 years old when he immigrated to Canada with his parents.

Tashi has been an outstanding community leader over the years in Ontario. Today, Toronto has become the largest Tibetan community in Canada and he has been instrumental in the growth of the community.

Tashi was elected as the President of the Canadian Tibetan Association of Ontario in 1986-1988, 1994-1996, and 1998-2000.

In 2002, Tashi opened the Rangzen Café, the first Tibetan restaurant in the Parkdale/High Park area of Toronto which is now called Little Tibet. Today, there are 8 Tibetan restaurants on that same street.  He sold the restaurant in 2010 and purchased the building, which he owns today.

Tashi also volunteered as the Transportation Coordinator when His Holiness the Dalai Lama conferred Kalachakra Initiation in Toronto in 2004.

Today, he is a Project Manager at A & L Contractors, and a property and income investment advisor in the residential and commercial sector in the Toronto area.

Tibetan Community Leader in Toronto, Canada;
Project Manager, A&L Contractors

 PAST JUDGES

Click the judge’s name to read his or her biography.

2016 JUDGES

Randall Kempner is Executive Director of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE). As executive director of ANDE, Randall oversees the implementation of ANDE’s extensive program, research and advocacy agenda, including its seven international chapters and multiple grant and challenge competitions that support the entrepreneurship sector. Randall has twenty years of experience in the field of international economic development. Most recently, he served as Vice President for Regional Innovation at the U.S. Council on Competitiveness and prior to that was a founder of OTF Group. Randall graduated from the University of Texas with an M.B.A. and an M.P.Aff. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Government from Harvard College.

Executive Director of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE)

Mr. Lobsang Nyandak currently serves as the Executive Director of the Tibet Fund and also acts as a Trustee to the Dalai Lama Trust based in the United States.

Mr. Nyandak has served extensively within the Tibetan community in exile in various capacities for more than 25 years. Prior to joining The Tibet Fund, he served with distinction as the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Americas for five years from 2008 to 2013. He also served as a Member of the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies, Kalon (Minister) of the Department of Finance, Department of Health and the Department of Information & International relations in the Central Tibetan Administration based in Dharamsala, India. While serving as Finance Kalon, Mr. Nyandak also acted as the Managing Trustee of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Charitable Trust and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Tibetan Social and Resource Development Fund. He was responsible in founding the Tibetan Chamber of Commerce and the National Tibetan Sweater Sellers Association.

Mr. Nyandak was the founding Executive Director of the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights from 1996 to until his appointment as Kalon in 2001 and later served as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy till 2004.

Mr. Nyandak received his Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Arts from Panjab University, Chandigarh, India.

Executive Director of the Tibet Fund;
Trustee to the Dalai Lama Trust based in the U.S.

Song is Senior Vice President of Operations and Acting General Counsel at Revolution LLC and General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at Revolution Growth.

Prior to joining Revolution, Song was Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Extend Health, Inc., operator of the country’s largest private Medicare insurance exchange.  Prior to that, Song was Corporate Counsel and Compliance Officer for Revolution Health Group (now a part of Everyday Health).

Song’s career has also included private legal practice with the law firm DLA Piper, where she represented a variety of clients including high-technology and emerging growth companies in the areas of bioscience, software, hardware, and telecommunications as well as venture capital, private equity, and other investment funds.  Her practice focused on general corporate and securities law, and included debt and equity offerings, venture capital and mezzanine financings, M&A, and investment fund formation.

Song is a frequent speaker on the use of private equity and venture capital as catalysts for economic development and has served as general counsel to the National Association of Seed and Venture Funds, a non-profit organization focused on the use of venture capital as a tool for economic development.

Song received her BA from Southern Methodist University and holds a JD from the University of Texas School of Law.

SVP of Operations & Acting General Counsel, Revolution LLC;
General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer, Revolution Growth

Tashi Nangsetsang was born in 1966 in Dharamsala, Northern India. He was only 6 years old when he immigrated to Canada with his parents.

Tashi has been an outstanding community leader over the years in Ontario. Today, Toronto has become the largest Tibetan community in Canada and he has been instrumental in the growth of the community.

Tashi was elected as the President of the Canadian Tibetan Association of Ontario in 1986-1988, 1994-1996, and 1998-2000.

In 2002, Tashi opened the Rangzen Café, the first Tibetan restaurant in the Parkdale/High Park area of Toronto which is now called Little Tibet. Today, there are 8 Tibetan restaurants on that same street.  He sold the restaurant in 2010 and purchased the building, which he owns today.

Tashi also volunteered as the Transportation Coordinator when His Holiness the Dalai Lama conferred Kalachakra Initiation in Toronto in 2004.

Today, he is a Project Manager at A & L Contractors, and a property and income investment advisor in the residential and commercial sector in the Toronto area.

Tibetan Community Leader in Toronto, Canada;
Project Manager, A&L Contractors

2015 JUDGES

Jeff Hoffman is a successful entrepreneur and motivational speaker. In his career, he has been the founder of multiple startups, he has been the CEO of both public and private companies, and he has served as a senior executive in many capacities. Jeff has been part of a number of well-known companies, including Priceline.com, uBid.com, CTI, ColorJar, and more.

Today Jeff serves on the boards of companies in the US, Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia. He supports entrepreneurs and small businesses on a worldwide basis, serving on the global advisory boards of Global Entrepreneurship Week (supporting entrepreneurship in over 130 countries), the US State Department’s GIST program (Global Innovation through Science and Technology, working in 49 emerging nations), the APEC Startup Initiative (the Asia Pacific Economic Council’s 21-member nation association), and many others. He supports the White House, the State Department, USAID, and similar organizations internationally on economic growth initiatives and entrepreneurship programs.

Jeff is a frequent keynote speaker, having been invited to speak in over 50 countries. He speaks on the topics of innovation, entrepreneurship, and business leadership, and is currently writing a book on how to scale a business, which will be published worldwide in the summer of 2014. Jeff also teaches innovation workshops to major corporations on a regular basis.

Jeff is a featured business expert seen on Fox News, Fox Business, CNN, CNN International, Bloomberg News, CNBC, ABC, and NPR, and in publications including Forbes, Inc., Time, Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal, and more.

Jeff received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the national CEO council for his contributions to the field of entrepreneurship, as well as receiving the 2012 Champion of Entrepreneurship Award from JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, and Rising Tide Capital.

Outside of the world of technology, Jeff has produced movies in Hollywood, has produced musical events including concerts, tours, and charity events with such artists as Elton John, Britney Spears, NSYNC, and others, and serves on numerous charity and non-profit boards.

Entrepreneur
Priceline.com, uBid.com, CTI, ColorJar

Mr. Lobsang Nyandak currently serves as the Executive Director of the Tibet Fund and also acts as a Trustee to the Dalai Lama Trust based in the United States.

Mr. Nyandak has served extensively within the Tibetan community in exile in various capacities for more than 25 years. Prior to joining The Tibet Fund, he served with distinction as the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Americas for five years from 2008 to 2013. He also served as a Member of the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies, Kalon (Minister) of the Department of Finance, Department of Health and the Department of Information & International relations in the Central Tibetan Administration based in Dharamsala, India. While serving as Finance Kalon, Mr. Nyandak also acted as the Managing Trustee of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Charitable Trust and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Tibetan Social and Resource Development Fund. He was responsible in founding the Tibetan Chamber of Commerce and the National Tibetan Sweater Sellers Association.

Mr. Nyandak was the founding Executive Director of the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights from 1996 to until his appointment as Kalon in 2001 and later served as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy till 2004.

Mr. Nyandak received his Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Arts from Panjab University, Chandigarh, India.

Executive Director of the Tibet Fund;
Trustee to the Dalai Lama Trust based in the U.S.

Song is Senior Vice President of Operations and Acting General Counsel at Revolution LLC and General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at Revolution Growth.

Prior to joining Revolution, Song was Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Extend Health, Inc., operator of the country’s largest private Medicare insurance exchange.  Prior to that, Song was Corporate Counsel and Compliance Officer for Revolution Health Group (now a part of Everyday Health).

Song’s career has also included private legal practice with the law firm DLA Piper, where she represented a variety of clients including high-technology and emerging growth companies in the areas of bioscience, software, hardware, and telecommunications as well as venture capital, private equity, and other investment funds.  Her practice focused on general corporate and securities law, and included debt and equity offerings, venture capital and mezzanine financings, M&A, and investment fund formation.

Song is a frequent speaker on the use of private equity and venture capital as catalysts for economic development and has served as general counsel to the National Association of Seed and Venture Funds, a non-profit organization focused on the use of venture capital as a tool for economic development.

Song received her BA from Southern Methodist University and holds a JD from the University of Texas School of Law.

SVP of Operations & Acting General Counsel, Revolution LLC and General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer, Revolution Growth

Born in Lhasa, Tibet in 1951, Samdup arrived in India as a refugee in 1959. He joined the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) in 1960 first as a student, later teacher, and eventually became its director.  In 1973, Mr. Samdup was the recipient of a John D. Rockefeller 3rd Fund Scholarship, under which he studied ethno-musicology at Brown University in the United States. In 1980 Samdup moved to Canada where he served as President of the Tibetan Cultural Association of Quebec.

In 1987 he co-founded the Canada Tibet Committee, a cross-Canada network of Tibet advocates, serving as National President for 17 years.  In 1990 Samdup was elected as the first member of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile representing the Tibetans in North America.

In 1999, Samdup proposed and oversaw the establishment of the International Tibet Network, a coalition of more than 100 Tibet groups from the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.

In 2008, Thubten Samdup’s prominence in the Tibetan community rose after launching his personal initiative – Kalon Tripa Candidate’s Campaign, which sparked an unprecedented level of interest from the Tibetan populace on the 2011 Kalon Tripa Election.

In 2009, Samdup was appointed as Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Office of Tibet, London, a position he held until September 2014.

Samdup is the recipient of an “exceptional artist” award from Harvard University, and the 2005 Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award, a project of the Grace Family Foundation. He is included among the “Committee of 100” for Tibet and has served on the Board of Directors of several Tibet-related organizations in Canada, the United States and Europe.

Former Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Northern Europe

 JUDGING PROCESS

FORMAT

Round 1: Students submit a proposal for the qualifying round in April 2017. Submissions are evaluated by a panel of judges to select the finalists.

Round 2: Finalists will compete at the International Finals in June 2017. The winners will be selected by an esteemed panel of judges, including high-profile Tibetans.

COMPOSITION OF THE APPLICATION

  • All teams must submit an application, a two-page executive summary, a one-page financial snapshot, and the link to a five-minute video overview of the plan, uploaded to a platform such as YouTube or Vimeo. Teams selected to advance to the finals will submit a complete business plan.
  • The executive summary should include the following (word counts are only a guideline):
    • Team/Company Name
    • Industry
    • Management Team Members: Include full names, titles, Schools, and class years
    • One Line Pitch (30 words)
    • Abstract (100 words)
    • Customer Problem (40 words)
    • Your Solution (100 words)
    • Target Market (100 words): Include market size, growth rate, segmentation, and market structure where applicable
    • Marketing & Sales Strategy (100 words)
    • Business Model (40 words)
    • Competition (100 words)
    • Competitive Advantage (100 words): List barriers to entry, any patents, and/or technology
    • Funds Needed
    • Use of Funds
    • Financial Snapshot: Show total revenue, total expenditure and net for each year over a 5-year projection period
    • Exit Strategy
    • Appendices: Include any diagrams that show or demonstrate your product or service
  • Complete business plans may not exceed 15 pages written, and no more than 20 pages total with supporting graphs, charts, financials, etc. Teams may provide unlimited supplemental materials for the benefit of the Tibetans who will be implementing the winning plan; however, these materials will not be considered by the judges when selecting a winner.

INFORMATION GIVEN TO APPLICANTS

This competition is intended to create innovative and practical business ideas that Tibetan refugees can implement in their communities to foster long-term economic development and stability. The best ideas will be adaptable for similar communities and populations in other parts of the world. Plans should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Demonstrate a clear and thorough understanding of the unique challenges facing Tibetan refugees and be able to explain how a venture will address these challenges. Participants are encouraged to connect with a Tibetan mentor and explore resources on our website to learn more about Tibetan refugees.
  • Plan to be financially sustainable or profitable, whether the venture is for-profit or not-for-profit
  • Plan to be scalable long-term, taking into account the potential for growth of the business, both financially and in its social impact
  • Include a plan for measuring and evaluating both financial and social impact
  • Submitted ventures may not be a wholly owned subsidiary of an existing entity (of either a for-profit or not-for-profit entity).
  • By entering the competition, students understand that all submitted plans are for the benefit of Tibetan refugees and may be implemented with or without student involvement.

JUDGING CRITERIA

Judges will evaluate the plans based on the potential to become a viable new venture, the potential social value in the Tibetan refugee communities, the potential for financial sustainability, and the likelihood of achieving long-term success.

Winning ventures will exhibit the following:

  • Understanding of Tibetan Culture and Challenges
  • Strong Team and Polished Presentation
  • Originality and Creativity of Idea
  • Business Potential and Feasibility
  • Financial, Social and Environmental Sustainability
  • Scalability
  • Social Value and Impact
  • Likelihood of Success

View the complete judging criteria.

View the Judging Rubric.

 DOWNLOADABLE FILES

 GET INVOLVED

COMMITMENTS

Judges agree to:

  • Familiarize themselves before the competition with relevant background materials to better inform their selection of a winning team;
  • Review executive summaries prior to the competition;
  • Listen to student presentations and score based on criteria provided by the University of Rochester;
  • Provide written or verbal feedback to student participants;
  • Select the winning team to be awarded the $5,000 grand prize.

The overall selection of the winners in both rounds is based on the likelihood of success for long-term positive economic impact in Tibetan refugee communities.

BENEFITS

  • Contribute to improving the lives of Tibetan refugees
  • Be part of the growing social entrepreneurship movement
  • Boost your professional reputation as a leader in the social entrepreneurship field
  • Network with other judges and MBA students at the competition events
  • Acknowledgement on the Tibetan Innovation Challenge website and printed competition materials
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REQUEST TO BECOME A JUDGE

If you’re interested in being a judge for the Tibetan Innovation Challenge, please take a few minutes to fill out the below form to introduce yourself and let us know why you’d make a great judge.

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