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Business Plan Competition for Women Entrepreneurs Nets Simmons School Of Management Graduate And Student Prizes, Networking

BOSTON (November 9, 2010) — An MBA student set to launch the first Palestinian television channel in Israel and a recent MBA graduate creating a company that will offer risk modeling software to investors in the life sciences industry, each won a cash prize and in-kind services at the fourth annual Silverman Business Plan Competition recently held at the Simmons School of Management in Boston.

It is the first time two winners have tied for first place in the distinguished business competition, which is organized through the Simmons School of Management — the only AACSB-accredited business school in the nation designed specifically for women. In September, the School of Management's entrepreneurship program was ranked for the third consecutive year among the top 25 in the country by Entrepreneur magazine and The Princeton Review.
With the planned creation of Palestinian Television or PTV, MBA student Areen Shahbari will lead what is expected to be the top provider of media and entertainment for Palestinians in Israel and consumers of Palestinian culture locally and globally. PTV plans to target women viewers, and by extension, their families, reaching an estimated 1.7 million Palestinian and Israeli households to start.

A Fulbright Fellow and a Palestinian Israeli citizen, Shahbari is an international broadcast media professional with four years experience working in production, editing, and TV anchoring.  Shahbari, the first Palestinian employee for Keshet Broadcasting — the most highly viewed television channel in Israel — has committed herself to improving the health and happiness of the Palestinian population in Israel and to peaceful relations between Jews and Palestinians in Israel.

Katinka Stenius, founder of Modio Ventures and a 2009 graduate of the Simmons School of Management, plans to provide a cost-effective tool for managers and investors to help improve the mitigation of potential risks associated with the life sciences field.  Modio Ventures will deliver its services through online software that is licensed monthly, or through a project-based short-term consultant service.

The judges said they chose Shahbari and Stenius because of their moving and compelling presentations about their ventures, as well as their ambitious and robust business designs.

"Our annual business plan competition presents a valuable opportunity for our graduates and students to draw on the extended School of Management network, including faculty and business leaders, to assist them as they launch sustainable, scalable ventures with impact," said Dr. Teresa Nelson, Elizabeth J. McCandless Chair in Entrepreneurship and director of the entrepreneurship program at the Simmons School of Management.

The Silverman Business Plan Competition began at Simmons College in 2006, to support women in launching and leading entrepreneurial ventures. It is named in recognition of a major gift from Lois Silverman, founder of CRA Managed Care (now Concentra Managed Care), and founding chair of The Commonwealth Institute.

As part of the competitive process, participants are paired with faculty advisors who assist them with various aspects of new business creation, such as financial statement development and market outreach. Participants also gain access to established entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, bankers, and attorneys. 

The Simmons School of Management is the only business school in the nation that is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and designed specifically to educate women for power and principled leadership. The program is featured in 2011 edition of The Princeton Review's "The Best 300 Business Schools" guidebook and ranked the No. 1 MBA program in the U.S. with the "greatest opportunity for women."