TiE Houston Guides Global Entrepreneurs at Rice U Competition

TiE Houston President Shri Iyer (on mic) flanked with Chapter Presidents at the networking event held on Wednesday, April 10 at Mangiammos on Post Oak.

TiE Houston President Shri Iyer (on mic) flanked with Chapter Presidents at the networking event held on Wednesday, April 10 at Mangiammos on Post Oak.

HOUSTON: Student entrepreneurs from around the world are gathering in Houston this week to compete at the Rice Business Plan Competition (the world’s largest and richest business plan competition, with prizes totaling over $1.5 million), and some have been getting unique support from a global entrepreneurs network.

TiE (the world’s largest entrepreneur network spanning 18 countries) organized feeder competitions in Asia and Europe where over 300 teams from 12 countries participated. The winners gained automatic entry into the Rice Business Plan Competition.  In total three teams were invited to Houston after having gone through semi-finals in their own countries and eventually the regional finals in Delhi and Brussels. With 42 teams competing for a share of the prize, every ounce of competitive edge counts, and TiE is actively assisting in coaching these teams in a unique way.

“TiE is all about paying it forward. In keeping with that spirit, successful entrepreneurs from as far away as England and Germany, have travelled to Houston to mentor our teams, along with numerous TiE Houston members,” says Ashok Rao, Chairman of TiE Global.  “Our whole aim is to foster entrepreneurship and mentor the next generation of entrepreneurs. With teams from Thailand, Hong Kong and the UK competing at RICE, we wanted to do all we could to get them ready to compete against elite teams from schools like MIT, Harvard and Stanford.”

Matthias Schmidt, 27, is a young German entrepreneur who is co-founder and CEO of consumer brand start-up Kaffeination. “We cannot tell you how important this help has been…” says Matthias, “TiE has been there at every step of our business’s growth, and we’ve been able to get advice from some of the most successful people in the world…”

Schmidt’s team and the other team AG Cerez from Thailand were at hand at a networking event held on Wednesday, April 10 at Mangiammo’s Italian Restaurant on Post Oak, hosted by the current TiE Houston President Shri Iyer. Over 70 people attended and heard the enthusiastic sales pitches from each team’s spokesman, to rousing applause. The heads of the TiE chapters in Brussels, Manchester, Silicon Valley and Thailand were also on hand to express their solidarity in support. “This type of mentoring of young entrepreneurial talent is what TiE is all about,” said Iyer. “I’m so proud that three of our teams made it all the way to RICE to showcase how our organization can help.”

“We’re all about giving back…” says P.K. Agarwal, CEO of TiE Global, who also attended the Networking meet.  “We have a virtuous circle supporting young entrepreneurs which includes mentoring, networking and many other forms of support.” Kaffeination went on to win a cash prize for elevator sales pitch and AG Cerez advanced to the next round to win for innovation.

“I’ve been judging at RICE for over five years..” says Aruna Viswanathan, an entrepreneur and investor who is President Elect of TiE Houston.  “I’m so proud that we’re hosting these outstanding teams from TiE Asian and TiE Europe, and helping them to get prepared for this world-class competition.”