May 12, 2009 — If success can be measured in dollars, University of Virginia graduate business students Baijnath Ramraika, Ravi Yekula and Chip Ransler recently reached a milestone – winning more than $100,000 in cash and prizes from business plan competitions.
The Darden School students' "Clean India" business plan, which describes a for-profit model to recycle contaminated water discharged by Indian garment-makers, has now taken first place seven times, along with a second-place finish in a major national competition in April.
On May 2, the students – who are scheduled to receive master's of business administration degrees Sunday – won two of the three divisions of the 2009 Mid-Atlantic Business Plan Competition, sponsored by the MIT Enterprise Forum of Washington-Baltimore and hosted at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business in Washington.
Clean India won first place in both the Social/Environmental Innovation Award category and in the Open Track division, where they competed against 22 teams that included seasoned professionals as well as student teams. The top spots earned them $8,500 and in-kind services valued at $35,000, including patent filing, Web site development, consulting and sales training. Darden student Matt Dixon, who is also slated to graduate Sunday, joined the Clean India team in April and took part in the winning presentation.
Last month, the Clean India team took second place at the national finals of the Wal-Mart Better Living Business Plan Challenge, held at Wal-Mart's home office in Bentonville, Ark. A field of 32 teams had already been whittled down to eight winners of the regional stage of the competition. Clean India's runner-up finish won them $10,000.