Nine students of German at the University of Leeds took part in the final round of the sixth annual German Business Students of the Year competition, held on campus on Friday, 3 June.
The competition, which is sponsored by the UK’s first listed law firm Gateley Plc, is held entirely in German and is convened by the German Honorary Consul, Mr Mark Green, who is also a Consultant for Gateley Plc.
The entrants compete in teams of three and are tasked with presenting their business idea to a panel, comprised of Mr Mark Green and Mr William Ballmann, corporate recovery partner and Head of Gateley Plc’s Leeds office, in a ‘Dragons Den’ themed competition.
In seeking a notional €30,000 investment, each team had to explain their business idea, their planned marketing and their financial forecasts, before being quizzed by the panel on any aspect of the business proposal.
Commenting on the competition, Mr Green said: “This competition was set up over five years ago, in a joint initiative between myself and Leeds University, as a way to encourage final-year German language students to prepare for and embrace business opportunities, as they leave university. The standard of entries has always been high, but the business proposals this year were presented in an extremely convincing fashion. It made it difficult to select the winning team.”
This year’s competition saw team HalloVelo come out victorious after they put forward their business plan for a peer-to-peer bike hire service to be launched in Berlin. Team HalloVelo consisted of Luke Pomeroy, Tom MacPherson and Chris Cooling.
Members of the winning team commented: “It was a really enjoyable process. Obviously, being questioned on our ideas by the Honorary German Consul and an experienced business professional such as Mr. Ballmann was an extremely valuable educational experience, and the feedback we received was really helpful.”
William Ballmann, panel member and partner at sponsors Gateley Plc, added: “I am very happy to sponsor this year’s event, both to deepen our firm’s links with the university, as well as to encourage the students. At Gateley we have many international links and fully understand the importance of being able to negotiate in foreign languages.
“This event leaves me feeling positive for the future career prospects of the participating students from the University of Leeds. As a region, we need to be encouraging many more students to attain this level of foreign linguistic ability.”