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Six teams of students are currently working on business plans for our MBA Challenge. Read more about them here and tell us which is your favourite on Twitter @ftbuseducation #FTMBAchallenge
The winning team will be announced in October 2012.
Team #1: 2020 Vision for Change
●Team members: Leanne Brady, Sumona Chaudhury, Michael Gichangi, Lucy Lee, Bruce Longmore, Marc Low, Bethan McDonald, Hilary Rono
●Schools represented: the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business, South Africa; London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK and Harvard School of Public Health, US.
●Business proposal: implement a social marketing strategy that uses mobile technology to increase the acceptability and wearing of spectacles among young people in Kenya.
●Key strategies: launch a school-based, interactive spectacle design competition. Using their mobile phones, participants will choose their favourite glasses frames and colours via SMS from a selection on promotional posters. Involving young people in the design of the spectacles in this way will help to give them ownership of the product. A relevant Kenyan personality and role model will endorse the campaign, ensuring national recognition of the brand.
-Use a mobile app – the iSight Test – which has been specifically adapted for the Kenyan market – to conduct in eye tests in schools. Mobile technology will mean that the testing process is quick and cheap and will allow non-health professionals to conduct the tests.
-Collect research data that will be used in market analysis to find the preferred designs of spectacles and to develop the brand. It will also generate public health statistics, help to transmit campaign messages and will mean that there is continued evaluation and monitoring of the eyecare needs of young people.
●Funding: the iSight Test app has already been donated. Since much
of the strategy will rely on mobile technology a partnership with national mobile provider Safaricom will be explored to help with start-up costs.
A partial government subsidy will also be discussed.
Read a Q&A with 2020 Vision for Change here.
Team name #2: The Glass Strangers
●Team members: Pankaj Arora, Fenna Bomsma, Deepali Kohli, Rohit Kumar, Sudhanshu Sharma, Ashish Yadav
●Schools represented: SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, India; Cranfield School of Management, UK; Cranfield University, UK; Thunderbird School of Global Management, US; University of North Carolina, US.
●Business proposal: to tackle the social stigma that is attached to wearing spectacles in India through storytelling, an important aspect of Indian culture.
●Key strategies: publish a series of 10 comics following the story of “Sonu”, a cartoon character aged between 10 and 12 who has to wear spectacles. Initially Sonu is uncomfortable wearing glasses but as he starts to succeed in sport and his studies he gains self-confidence and respect from family and friends.
-Use visual cues and commonly used words so that Sonu will also appeal to readers in other countries. To obtain the next edition of the comic, for example, readers will have to mention a clue stated in the previous edition and will also have to show their Sightsavers spectacles.
-Create a national TV and radio advertising campaign, featuring Sonu with spectacle-wearing Indian personalities, such as Anil Kumble, the former cricketer, and Viswananathan Anand, the world chess champion. This will help children and adults identify with stars who never considered that wearing glasses hindered their success.
●Funding: £20,000 is needed to create Sonu and publish 10 editions of the comic, plus a further £25,000 to produce advertisements on All India Radio and Doordarshan National TV channel.
Pro-bono support from animation companies and organisations that work in eyecare will also be explored.
Read a Q&A with The Glass Strangers here.
Team #3: RiteSight
●Team members: Aaron Basaiawmoit, Rajiv Vaid Basaiawmoit, Dev Bhargava, Anders Laursen, Ishanie Niyogi, Kathleen Wagner and Enoch Yeboah
●Business proposal: change the mindset of people in north east India through campaigns that use games, loyalty schemes and versatile glasses.
●Key strategies: create computer games in which all players must wear glasses in order to be able to read the screen. A board version of the game for schools with no access to computers will also be developed.
-Introduce a certification scheme in which parents and teachers who promote spectacle use are called “ambassadors” and are awarded certificates and gift vouchers.
-Design glasses that allow greater choice of style and the potential to use them as a fashion item. For example, they would come in styles or colours that can be adapted or bought and exchanged easily in a similar way to mobile phone covers.
-Make designs available with plain glass so people with good eyesight can wear them as fashion items or for solidarity, like friendship bracelets.
●Funding: Focus on gaining 50 per cent of necessary funds from individual donors, 25 per cent from social impact bonds, 14 per cent from government grants, 10 per cent from companies and one per cent from mobile apps.
Read a Q&A with RiteSight here.
Team #4: Vista Visionaries
●Team members: Stephanie Claggett, Jolene Cornelia Roelofse, Claudia Grosman, Rajeev Hegde, Alankar Kumar, Lorah Njagi and Wendy Okada
●Represented schools: Warwick Business School, UK; Copenhagen Business School, Denmark; Asian Institute of Management, Philippines; the University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business, Canada.
●Business proposal: create an inclusive environment for children with low vision in Kenya by hosting road shows and providing specially designed glasses that are safe and fashionable.
●Key strategies: host road shows in schools with active participation from community role models. The road shows will train children to enact plays that introduce a character wearing glasses who overcomes challenges. There will also be vision-distorting goggles available to help replicate the experience of low vision and weekly cartoon strips in newspapers to further develop the plays.
-Create glasses with designs of famous cartoon characters and collapsible frames with easy to replace lens to enable children to participate in peer group activities without inhibition.
●Funding: Social media will be used for fundraising. Opinion leaders active on Twitter for example, can drive this by introducing the issues and directing donors to a main social media page.
Donors will also be invited on an expedition to Kenya for further fundraising and to take part in the road shows.
Read a Q&A with Vista Visionaries here.
Team #5: Team Vision
●Team members: Rahul Anand, Malik Baudry, Aman Chitkara, Tristan Paris de Bollardiere, Amabile Rebeschini and Friedemann Schulze-Fielitz
●Business proposal: target children living in urban slums in the Indian state of Rajasthan - where a significant migration of the rural population to urban areas is under way - by touring plays, using celebrities and creating a sponsorship network.
●Key strategies: collaborate with Pravah, a local non-governmental organisation, to send young volunteers around the streets of a city in a bus, who would perform a short skit or play that promotes the value of wearing glasses. The volunteers would come from Pravah’s youth programme for promoting social change. They would sometimes include an ophthalmologist who would test children and prescribe glasses.
-Ask Bollywood celebrities – such as Sonam Kapoor, who wears glasses – to feature in videos and posters that promote spectacle use. “Your identity is created not from spectacles but from self-confidence” is a suggested slogan.
-Introduce a “sponsor a friend” programme in which children with low vision can sponsor others in need of glasses by donating a very small sum. In return they would get charms or a new colour frame for their own glasses.
●Funding: traditional funding opportunities at local or multinational organisations, foundations and goverment agencies will be researched. Schemes such as Sightsavers’ Give the Gift of Sight can be adopted and engaging celebrities for the campaign will be essential.
Costs will also be minimised with the use of volunteers from local grassroots organisations like Pravah.
Read a Q&A with Team Vision here.
Team #6: The Glass Ceiling
●Team members: Piyush Choudhry, Ronsilla Reema Coutinho, Sheera Gendzel, Ashank Gupta, Ritanshu Kashyap, Karl-Justin Stürmer, Manuel Vidal-Ribas and Ashish Vijaywargiya
●Business proposal: target children living in rural India by giving teachers eye sight test tool kits and creating a limited style of frames.
●Key strategies: develop a tool kit that teachers can use in schools to make an initial diagnosis of students’ eyesight. The toolkit will have a sight-testing machine, sample glasses and a handbook that is easy to use. Teachers will only need one to two hours of training and will then be able to place large orders for glasses. Children who have more complicated eyesight problems, meanwhile, will be referred to clinics.
-Use a limited number of glass frame models – five to 10, for example – to avoid confusing children by giving them too much choice. Styles will vary for boys and girls and will be made in China.
-Create an advertising campaign where actors wear exactly the same frames as the ones available to children to increase the appeal of wearing glasses.
●Funding: integrate Sightsavers into the CSR programme of a major healthcare or glasses manufacturer and collaborate with micro-financing entities and health ministries to limit costs.
Co-branding with a respected eye wear market player will also be investigated.
Read a Q&A with The Glass Ceiling here.