After launching, on February 22, 2011, the “Grow My Business” (GMB) competition, an initiative by the Beirut Traders Association (BTA), in collaboration with the MIT Enterprise Forum – Pan Arab Region and in partnership with Bank Audi sal - Audi Saradar Group, a closing press conference was held on May 31, 2011, at Bank Audi Plaza, Bab Idriss, to announce the winner of the competition.
The contest consisted in having a selection of Lebanese traders develop plans for their businesses to grow. After that, a jury composed of prominent figures of the BTA, of the MIT Enterprise Forum – Pan Arab Region, and of Bank Audi selected the top 25 candidates who benefited from a workshop organised by experts and professors and focusing on how to draft a successful business plan. All 25 business plans were then submitted to the jury who chose the 11 best candidates and assessed them through a series of oral presentations.
In light of these sessions, the jury ultimately voted for “the” winning company of the “Grow My Business” competition, Green Studios, represented by Messrs. Jamil Corbani, Zeina Kronfol, Oliver Wehbe and Marc Abi Haila, who won a LBP 50,000,000 prize courtesy of Bank Audi.
It is worth mentioning, in this respect, that the “Grow My Business” competition witnessed a much bigger success than expected: the GMB website was visited 54,539 times since the launch of the initiative, its main page visited 27,979 times, the GMB application page visited 7,174 times, and 607 applications were downloaded, among which 80 applications were compliant to the competition’s regulations.
Most importantly, organisers had expected to end up with 5 finalist teams instead of 11, which proved to be impossible considering candidates’ high standards.
Mr. Nicolas Chammas, Chairman of the Beirut Traders Association, seized the opportunity to remind that “the purpose of this competition was to give a tangible added value to small and medium-sized companies, to uplift the professional standards of the commercial sector as a whole, and to contribute to the sustainable development of the national economy.” He also noted that the competition had attracted applications from a wide array of sectors, from IT to Design, Food, Construction, Consulting, Education, Tourism, and many others.
Mrs. Hala Fadel, Chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum – Pan Arab Region, added: “We are delighted to have contributed with our expertise and know-how in running the competition and providing training and guidance to the participants on how to take their existing businesses to the next level. The “Grow My Business” competition reflects the MIT Enterprise Forum’s commitment to supporting SMEs in Lebanon.” Fadel also commended the quality of applications received, saying “Participants’ ideas were beyond any of our expectations, and I am very hopeful about the future growth of Lebanon.”
As for H.E. Mr. Raymond Audi, Chairman - General Manager of Bank Audi sal - Audi Saradar Group, he emphasized “the Bank’s involvement in such initiatives, an additional proof of its dedication to make every necessary effort for the development of Lebanese SMEs, and of its commitment to make the Bank’s motto – Grow Beyond Your Potential – an all the more worthy reality.”