African teams to compete in business plan contest

By Sue McMurray, College of Business

NMAIST-Team-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Two teams from the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) will compete against teams from Asia, Europe and the United States in the Washington State University Business Plan Competition April 25-26.

The teams placed first and second in the NM-AIST competition Feb. 7 in Tanzania. Last year, a NM-AIST team was one of five finalists in the WSU contest.

Partnership enriches lives

The WSU College of Business and WSU Paul G. Allen School of Global Animal Health established a relationship with NM-AIST in 2012 on behalf of WSU’s university-wide, collaborative international development initiative.

The college teaches seminars and workshops to the institute’s students and collaborates with its faculty to develop curriculum for innovation management, venture creation and technology transfer.

WSU alumnus Paul Bayer and NM-AIST Vice Chancellor Burton Mwamila. (Photo by Kellen Mayes)

“It is rewarding to see our partnership with NM-AIST contributing to innovation in Tanzania and the region,” said Eric R. Spangenberg, college dean. “Training future global leaders to transform science into economic vitality that enriches lives is core to our land grant mission.”

“We thank this cooperation with Washington State University that equips our science and technology graduate students with the business skills and entrepreneurial mindset to hatch new ideas and create new businesses,” said Burton Mwamila, vice chancellor of NM-AIST.

Clean water, better nutrition

Members of the Obesanano Co. and LDR-Lishe Plus teams.

At NM-AIST, the Obesanano Company team won first place for a nanofilter purifier that will make safe drinking water accessible to rural dwellers. The team is mentored by Askwar Hilonga and led by Isaack Onoka. Teammates include Eric Mutogoa, Adrian Pamain and Barnes Mphande.

The Life Rich Diet (LDR) Co. Ltd. team won second place for a plan to address acute vitamin deficiencies among children under age five and pregnant and lactating women with high-nutrition cereal- and vegetable-based products made by Lishe Plus, an agro-processing and agriculture commodity supply company. The team is mentored by Martin Kimanya and led by Cypriana Cyprian. Teammates include Mwahija Ramadhani, Robert Lubole and Canute Hyandye.

About the competition

Jerman Rose, WSU’s interim vice provost for international programs and College of Business professor, led the international panel of judges including: WSU faculty Velle Kolde and Marie Mayes; WSU alumnus and United Parcel Service executive Paul Bayer; Alphonce Massaga and Maggie Mlengeya from the Tanzania chamber of commerce; and John Swai, NM-AIST faculty.

The WSU Business Plan Competition gives students a chance to practice business in a real-world setting. Students develop a written business plan as well as an oral presentation and present their idea to real investors.

The competition is open to WSU students who are enrolled spring semester 2014 and includes international competitors from China, Switzerland and Tanzania.

Washington high schools are invited to apply to compete in the high school league.

For more information, contact Marie Mayes at or visit