A team of Indian entrepreneurs seeking to set up a network to supply and process apricots in the Ladakh region to produce marketable products has won the 2010 Oxford International Youth Business Development Competition.
Held at Oxford University's Sad Business School, the competition was launched by the Oxford MBA Class of 2006.
It is a global competition for entrepreneurs aged 16-25, challenging them to develop business ideas that address real economic, social, and environmental issues.
Of the four teams short-listed for the final, the judges awarded the top prize to the Organic Fresh Apricot Processing project from the Ladakh region.
The winning team was mentored by current MBA student Muswagha Katya and led by Amish Chadha, Akshay Rao and Rahul Mathur, all former students of St Stephen's College, New Delhi.
The judges felt that the team clearly identified a need, and a plausible way of meeting this need, and were particularly impressed by the meticulous detail and thought which had been put to the application of the plan.
The Organic Fresh project proposes to set up a rural supply and processing network to benefit both farmers and consumers.
The project will be launched in Khaltsi block in Leh, and uses a Village Centric
Currently nearly 98 per cent of fresh apricots in this region reportedly go to waste.
Under the VCM, Organic Fresh will gather and process these apricots and use the whole fruit to produce marketable products, mainly jam and juice but also, using the stones, oil.
All the processing occurs at the villages where the apricots are grown.
This years competition attracted 130 business plans from teams of young entrepreneurs all around the world, and 20 of these teams received mentoring from current Oxford MBA students to develop their plans.
The four teams in the final included Go-Geo (India) and Healthcare without Borders (India).
The fourth team was Blueprint Magazine (Ghana).
The panel of judges included Howard Jones, Senior Research Fellow in Finance at Sad Business School, Marc Jones, corporate financier and green heat entrepreneur, and Bill Earner, investment manager, Amadeus.
The panel judged the final business plans on the criteria of impact, viability and actionability.