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Students Participate in SAGE Business Competition


On Aug. 10, three students from SIS, Andy Yoon (10), Jay Lee (12), and Hailey Ahn (12), traveled to Odessa, Ukraine to compete in the SAGE global cup, a five-day invitational high school business competition that brings together regional winners to compete against others from different regions. The team consisted of seven members from different high schools, including SIS. After emerging as the champions of the South Korea regional competition, the team was invited to attend the SAGE global cup.

“While most traditional business competitions give you a prompt and a fixed amount of time to make a business plan, this global competition forces you to make the business you created during the national competition,” Andy said. “When you go there, you meet people from all over the world who are trying to use their business to solve real-world problems.”

The competition was global, as students from an aggregate of 33 countries participated. While only a handful was able to make it to the global championship in Ukraine, more than 1,500 teams participated in the regional, national, and global competition platforms.

“The actual competition at SAGE Ukraine was only for one day,” Hailey said. “For all the other days, participants from all around were given a chance to tour the city Odessa and meet stude­­nts from all around including China, Chile, Iran, Poland, and other countries.”

Competitors could create either socially responsible businesses or social enterprises to present. The SAGE competition consisted of three different stages in its entirety: national, regional, and global. With the business plan that they created at the beginning of summer, the team competed in the regional tournament in February of the next year. After getting first place, the team was able to travel to the finalist competition in Ukraine in August.

“Our business plan was a platform that can connect budding photographers and coders to startups,” Jay said. “Using our platform, startups upload certain projects they are engaged in and the skills they want from the photographers and coders. In the mean time, photographers and coders upload their profiles describing past work, career, and skill sets. Essentially, our platform allows easier connection between freelance coders or photographers who want jobs and startups who need those skills.”

While the team was not able to triumph at the global level, the members agreed that it was a meaningful learning experience. Interacting with the global community with business ideas helped widen their scope and depth of understanding of entrepreneurship. Building on this experience, the members of the team aim to improve their skills in their continuing journey of learning about business.

“We were not able to win, possibly because our business was a platform unlike the other businesses from all over the world,” said Andy. “Other teams, for example, wanted to solve world hunger by growing crops of their own. However, I felt we learned a lot about a successful business, which may be some things to think about when constructing another business.”

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