[You may have seen yesterday’s post on Gdynia Business Week, a program of Washington Business Week and the Seattle-Gdynia Sister City Association that the Embassy supported in a variety of ways.  Here’s the report on Friday’s events from my colleague Larry Grippo, who traveled to the event as part of the Embassy’s Speakers Bureau program.  If you are interested in inviting a U.S. diplomat to participate in your event in Poland, please visit this page for more information on Speakers Bureau.]

On Friday, August 21, I served as a judge for two events held at Ogolnoksztalace High School in Gdynia as part of Gdynia Business Week.  Approximately 80 students from 22 high schools in Gdynia, along with five students from Seattle, participated in a week long program that culminated in a stockholder presentation and trade show.  I and two other local judges first evaluated two student groups who presented the financial and operational results of their fictional companies.  Using hand drawn charts as visual aids, the students assumed roles as corporate executives and described their company’s performance over the past two years.  The students then answered our questions about their company.

 I then participated as perspective investor during a mock trade show.  This was a much noisier and more interactive part of the program.  I was given several thousand “investor bucks” to give to the companies with the best new product presentation at the trade.  I walked around the trade show venue, listened to students’ sales pitches and discussed the merits of investing his money in their companies.  I was very impressed by the students’ creativity, enthusiasm and high level of fluency in English.  I was not surprised that the “painless cure for liver cancer” won the trade show event.

After the competition, I joined the other judges and the U.S. and local organizers of Gdynia Business Week for a lunch reception.  Everyone was pleased with how the students performed during the week, and the organizers promised to look into bringing the program back to Gdynia next year.