BCCJ President and JMEC judge Philip Gibb congratulated Kristi Mackintosh after she took the honours for Britain at the annual Japan Market Expansion Competition (JMEC) awards on 4 June.
Mackintosh, one of 55 aspiring Japan-based entrepreneurs and executives from 18 countries who entered this year’s competition, was one of six participants in the team that came third and the only Briton in the three winning teams. It was one of the closest finishes in the business plan-writing competition’s 16-year history.
Whether corporations or SMEs, project clients pay JMEC a fraction of the fee a business plan would normally cost. JMEC — a non-profit organisation supported by 13 foreign chambers of commerce in Japan and other corporate sponsors — then recruits and organises teams of participants that are lectured and mentored over seven months by established Japan-based businesspeople as they research, compose and present business plans.
Project clients often implement the business plans to expand or successfully market new or existing products, services and business solutions in Japan.
Gibb, a former JMEC mentor, said: “My Golden Week task was dedicated to reading all nine business plans — three times! Then the judges went to Temple University for two days of one-hour presentations of the plans by each team — all were of a very high standard”.
Naturally, he said, the highlight was watching the smiling participants receive awards. “Project clients were delighted to receive a high quality, thoroughly researched business plan. JMEC is undoubtedly one of the best practical business learning experiences available in Japan”.
According to Air New Zealand General Manager (Japan and Korea) Ed Overy, “To see the quality and amount of talent that JMEC attracts is very encouraging. Our involvement with the programme has given Air New Zealand a useful profile. The strategy paper clearly identifies the potential of the education market for Japanese visitors to New Zealand and we will certainly use some of the output in the future”.
As JMEC Program Director Laura Loy explained, “The competition was fierce, but everyone should be proud of their accomplishments, whether they took home a prize or not. The feedback we have already received from the project clients is extremely positive”.
JMEC 16: Simon Farrell, tel. 03-5545-5420; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
JMEC 17 (starts Fall 2010): Laura Loy, tel. 03-5562-1444; email: email@example.com