Processes of Organizing Business Plan Competitions: A Case Study of Abuja Enterprise Agency, Nigeria
The paper explores processes of organising business plan competitions by Abuja Enterprise Agency (AEA) as a case study. The aim is to provide systematic documentation of business plan competitions and impacts by a publicly-funded enterprise agency in a developing economy.
AEA attempts at organising business plan competitions that educate, build capacity and support the development of business planning culture within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) community. The competitions serve as avenues for discharging AEA mandates as a government agency and to promote its services to the community. The objectives of the competitions are conceptually different from similar competitions by private sector organisations, universities and development institutions.
The study is based on case studies of all the three competitions organised till date by the agency covering 2008, 2012 and 2015. The methodologies include interviews with AEA officials, competition prize winners, non-prize winners, experiential note and observation from direct involvement of the author in planning the maiden edition and as a judge in the competitions. The study utilised purposive sampling approach.
The findings highlight the developmental relevance of business plan competitions in stimulating start-ups, capacity-building, and business development in a developing economy context. It is acknowledged that the key driver of organising a business plan competition is to promote entrepreneurship and culture of business planning within the community.
The paper is original, and enriches few available literature on the subject, with the use of case study and multiple data collection approaches. It will guide entrepreneurs about stakeholders' expectations from business plans and participation at competitions. It serves as reference material for researchers, and other enterprise promoting institutions, that might be interested in learning, researching, and organising business plan competitions. Importantly, promoting a culture of business plan writing advances the ideas of sustainable entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial behaviour, capacity building and structured planning within the business community.