European Business Plan of the Year Competition

Cranfield School of Management


Hosted by The Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurial Performance & Economics

3 - 4 June 2011

We are delighted to announce that Cranfield School of Management is the winner of the 2011 European Business Plan of the Year Competition. The EBPYC has become Europe's longest running business plan competition. It is designed to encourage entrepreneurship and new business creation among MBA students and to help develop and apply venturing, commercial, and business skills that are so vital in today's business world.

The Cranfield team triumphed over students from top European business schools with their plan to launch a new chain of restaurants that will revolutionise the way Italian food is presented and consumed; with small, healthy, high quality, fresh versions of a number of favourite Italian dishes available for diners through a ground-breaking operational model. The business idea was developed by Andrea Fiore, Ailish Christian, Fabrizio Virdone, Gustavo Zeidan and Tim Lederer. The restaurants, branded ‘Filici’ (meaning ‘happy’ in Sicilian), will offer customers a fun and flavoursome experience of Sicily in the UK.

The 2011 EBPYC award winners are:

1. Cranfield School of Management (‘Filici – Cucina Siciliana’)

2. Imperial College Business School ('Scottson’)

3. London Business School ('NiBBle’)

Sustainability and Elevator Pitch Awards were won by Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School (‘EcoTree')




 From left to right: Tim Lederer, Fabrizio Virdone, Ailish Christian, Gustavo Zeidan and Andrea Fiore.

The Filici team commented: "We are very proud to have won the 2011 European Business Plan of the Year Competition. It was a wonderful opportunity to showcase our business concept in front of a prestigious panel of private investors and venture capitalists. The victory has validated months and months of hard work, and has provided the founders Andrea and Fabrizio with the impetus and credibility to make their dream come true; while Ailish, Gustavo and Tim, will bring this valuable experience back to their respective organisations Land Securities, Ernst & Young and DHL.”

All teams took part in a 15 minute ‘Dragons’ Den style’ business pitch in front of an esteemed panel of judges which included: Ian Lobley (3i), Steve Lewis (Living PlanIT), John Incledon (IDJ), Nigel Grierson (Doughty Hanson), Diana Nye (Ariadne), Modwenna Rees Mogg (Angel News), David Kaye (The Emmanuelle Kaye Foundation) and Eric Brisson (Business Angel).

The Cranfield team were grilled by the judges during their first round pitch, but took on board all the comments and worked through the night to perfect their pitch for the final round in front of the judges.

Dr Stephanie Hussels from the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurial Performance & Economics at Cranfield organised the event.  She commented:  “The event was a great success. The standard of pitches was extremely high, all of the teams performed so well. I am delighted that the Cranfield team won, their dedication and rigour really set them apart from the competition. Following last year’s competition six businesses were launched – so watch this space for more success stories from the 2011 competition.”


Steve Lewis CEO of Living PlanIT, the world leading urban technology company, was one of the judges. He said: “The competition has gone from strength to strength with a focus on the important balance between academic excellence and industry pragmatism. Congratulations to all of the participants – they all deserve to feel pride in their collective and individual performance. The Cranfield team demonstrated deep understanding of their intended market, concept, business dynamics and purpose in proposed execution. As a technologist of many years, to be captivated (as were the other judges), by a business plan in the hospitality sector is a demonstration not only of the quality of the plan itself but a demonstration that value may be created by fantastic entrepreneurs in all sectors.”

For further information about ‘Filici’ please email Andrea Fiore at





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