Reason for Optimism

The 2010 Global MootCorp Competition will finish up this evening on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. Started in 1984, it’s the oldest of a number of business plan competitions held each year at U.S. universities. In addition to providing a richer educational experience for many MBA students, it has helped launch many businesses that went on to become successful enterprises. The UT program’s pioneering work pointed the way to a number of other competitions including related programs at Arkansas, Louisville, Manitoba, Oregon, and Rice.

This year was my first time to participate since moving back to Austin a few years ago, and I felt fortunate to be invited. As a beginner, I was a “judge” in the warm-up round where panels of industry veterans help the teams hone their presentations before the real judging begins. We were indeed able to offer helpful suggestions, but each team my panel heard was already quite accomplished at presenting their plans before we met them.

It’s a cliché that we only hear the worst news in the media and good news rarely gets reported. In the case of these competitions, however, the mainstream business press does pay attention. Expect a story soon in the New York Times on this competition.

My panel viewed plans from U.S., Hong Kong, and Brazilian teams for new businesses in the domains of agriculture, healthcare, and transportation.  The experience was refreshing and reinforced my sense of optimism about the ability of free enterprise to create new ways to solve problems.

Congratulations to Rob Adams and team at UT for a stellar job!

About Bob Barker
Bob Barker is a trusted advisor to CEOs, helping them identify, define, and execute new growth-accelerating opportunities. He also shares ideas on LinkedIn (robertgbarker), in guest posts on related blogs, and in industry publications. Contact him via email at

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