Here’s the first draft of an article I was asked to write for my department’s newsletter. The topic is the virtual Entrepreneurial Presentation Competition event that my course organized. The article might eventually appear in the February newsletter. If you would like to see the recording of the competition, you may on click the following LINK or view the video at the end of this post.
“Bi-Annual Fall 2020 Entrepreneurial Presentations Competition Fall 2020”
For the past several years, teams of students in the ENGL 252, or English for Communication II Business, have presented their business ideas during a showcase event. Late in the fall and spring semester, hundreds of students (male and female in separate wings of the business college building) would set up elaborate poster displays and inform the event’s audience about new business ideas for the Qatari market.
This event was the penultimate assessment in the multi-step, project-based Entrepreneurship Project, which aimed to develop the students’ business English abilities, allow them to apply their knowledge from business college coursework, and expose them to the value of entrepreneurship.
However, Coronavirus happened in Spring 2020, and the idea of hundreds of people gathering in one room, suddenly, became completely reckless.
Despite the setback of the pandemic, on Monday, November 16, 2020, the ENGL 252 team organized a virtual Entrepreneurial Presentations Competition. This event was spearheaded by ENGL 252 instructor Mhammed Chadi and was moderated by Course Lead, Conan Kmiecik. The event represented a collaboration between Qatar University’s Foundation Program Department of English, the QU College of Business and Economics, and the Bedaya Center for Entrepreneurship and Career Development.
During Fall 2019, the first Entrepreneurial Presentations Competition was conducted in-person, and three teams of female ENGL 252 presented their business idea. This event was organized by Mhammed Chadi and Ben Kohler, the previous Course Lead of ENGL 252. Their intent was to provide the student teams with the best business ideas an additional opportunity to present their idea to a panel of experts, instead of a general audience. Additionally, this event was meant to provide students with the motivation to develop their business outside of the Qatar University classroom and campus.
During the Fall 2020 competition, four teams of male ENGL 252 students virtually presented their business ideas through the WebEx video conferencing platform. Students were judged by a panel of three judges which included: Juha Perälampi who works as the Manager of the Business Incubator, Center for Entrepreneurship, at Qatar University; Ahmad Al-Saygh is the Entrepreneurship Manager at Bedaya Center; and Hamad Al Hajriis the CEO and founder of Snoonu, one of the fastest growing ecommerce platforms in Qatar.
Like many events that had to transition from in-person to online participation, there were some technical issues at the beginning of the event. However, once these issues were resolved, viewers of the event on WebEx and Youtube would have been impressed by the quality of the student presentations and the interactions with the panel of expert judges. As Ahmed Rahman, a student on the winning team, said at the end of the event, “I want to thank my teachers for this great opportunity. They give us the chance to join this competition and talk to all about our company. We hope our company success more in the future.”
Although the future of course delivery at Qatar University is uncertain, the ENGL 252 team is ready to conduct the outstanding Entrepreneurial Presentations Competition, in-person or online.