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Start-up Story: MBA World Trophy

The MBA World Trophy is a world leading annual competition for MBA Led startups held in Dublin, Ireland. Last year, we had some of the worlds finest universities compete from as far afield as Mexico, Peru, Israel and The US. The competitors compete, for the MBA World Trophy and prize money. Also the power is in the amazing mentoring and networking opportuinities available to the contestants. We recently contacted the 2013 contestants and discovered that nine of the nineteen companies are still trading today and they have raised a combined total of in excess of $6 million (and rising). The startups that are on the fast track to high growth include companies like Style Eyes, Cyclica, Mute Button, and Sales Bus.

Why we started

The MBA World Trophy started when a classmate and I decided during an informal chat that we would create an international competition for MBA students. We wanted to assemble the brightest and best entrepreneurs from the top colleges around the world who want to work for themselves, bring them to Dublin and host a competition. To give some background we were two MBA students at the Smurfit Business School So fast forward seven months and by the time we handed in our final MBA project we had visited some of the world’s most prestigious business schools and invited them to send teams to compete in the inaugural MBA World Trophy. The response we got from the different schools was fantastic and very encouraging. The concept is simple: teams of four students from some of the world’s top universities come to Dublin next May with an idea for a startup. While here, they will have their business model challenged by industry experts, venture capitalists, financiers and academics. They will work on solving practical problems, gaining experiences that will benefit their businesses. As well as being a competition this will be a chance for our guests to build an international network with their peers. While it is anticipated that the teams will be MBA-led, the reality is that startups need expertise in areas other than business, such as engineering and computer science. So we are encouraging universities to send multi-disciplinary teams to enhance the standard of competition.

Where do we see it going

We see it growing every year, with more universities entering and a larger network available for everyone to utilise. We have also added a virtual competition this year for universities that cant make it. We run this alongside an amazing conference called The Disruptors Conference. Where we have amazing speakers talking about the latest disruptive business techniques. The combination of both these events will also help promote Ireland as a fantastic place to set up new businesses.

How to grow

We need to get the word out there, to as many universites as possible for them to avail of this fantastic opportunity. They need to hear about the event so as they can showcase their ideas, gain knowledge and expand their network. For us its all about getting the word out there. When universities see the exceptional program we have in place they cant miss it.

What we have learned

People like to help, let them. there are never enough hours in the day, so do what you can and start again the next day. We both worked for ourselves before so we know that starting your own business is a lot of hard work, however doing what you love is just one of the advantages of being an entrepreneur and there are a lot more than disadvantages.

Tips for other businesspeople starting out

Take help when offered, and help others when you can. network, network, network. and never stop learning, we are in a world of constant change, keep reading and learning its the way forward in life and your business. And if there is anything we can do to help, please contact us !! 🙂 Written by MBA team. For more information visit

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