Monday, October 13, 2008

Numero Uno - Penultimate Round: Other People's Money

The penultimate round of Numero Uno tested the entrepreneurial skill of the participants, and the inter-personal and resource management ability that go along with it. Each team was given a capital of Rs. 5000 and asked to employ it in any venture deemed appropriate. With minimal guidelines, the teams were given complete freedom to exercise their imagination and maximize profits. However, with limited time (around 5 hours) and limited resources (but human and monetary), the strategizing and execution talents were thoroughly evaluated in this round.

Teams came up with varying ideas. Some sold services, and others peddled products. Many teams leveraged on social causes to attract attention, and gain customer approval. A few also banked on individual talents of team members too. The team that was called upon first used minimal cash and generated the maximum amount of profits. They did so by offering to teach CAT aspirants and sell loyalty cards to willing shoppers. However, the judges questioned their rationale of not using the capital at their disposal.

The next two teams picked up social causes to strike a chord with the consumer. While one sold pens for Bihar flood relief, the other sold T-shirts and mugs to support carbon-emission reduction. The latter idea was particularly impressive for its ingenuity and its vivacity. The team asked passersby to leave their footprint on a banner to support the cause, and willing people were offered the T-shirts and the mugs with their own customized message on it. And what’s more, they raked in a decent amount of profit too while having all this fun.

One issue that was persistently raised by the judges was whether using a social cause amounted to making false promises to the consumer and thus was unethical. This hurdle was also faced by the fourth team, which sold handcrafted bags for a profit which they promised would be used to develop better working conditions for the artisans.

In the end, a refreshing bit of implementation of henna-designing came up with the 5th team. They rode on the skill of their lady member who was proficient in henna-designs. And all this while, the four other male members were reduced to mere salesmen scouting for potential customers!

Thus the penultimate round had its fair share of fun and knowledge for the audience. It was even better for the participants most probably, and each of them presented a confident and calm veneer that most likely hid a nervous interior. Over to the final round now.

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