October 13, 2017 Print

Tricia Yeoh of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Malaysia) pitches her strategy to end price controls on small businesses in Malaysia at the 2017 Think Tank Shark Tank — Asia competition.

The Think Tank Shark Tank competition at Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner has been a hallmark of the event for several years. There, three graduates of the Atlas Leadership Academy compete before a panel of judges for a $25,000 grand prize in a showcase of the worldwide freedom movement’s most exciting new projects. This year’s competition will take place during Freedom Dinner, on Nov. 8 at the historic Capitale in New York City.

Atlas Network also hosts Think Tank Shark Tank competitions at its Asia, Latin America, Africa, and Europe Regional Liberty Forums. Here’s a look back at the winners of the 2017 Regional Think Tank Shark Tank competitions:


Empowering small businesses in Malaysia

The winner of the 2017 Think Tank Shark Tank — Asia competition was Tricia Yeoh of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Malaysia) for her pitch on a strategy to end price controls on small businesses in Malaysia.

“My pitch was about the story of Selva, a small sundry shop owner in a small town near Kuantan, the state capital of Pahang, Malaysia,” Yeoh said. “His shop was raided in October 2016 because he was selling some laundry detergent at $2.65 instead of the $2.45 that the government said he should be selling it at, so just 20 cents difference. And then the government asked him to fill out some complicated forms, but he’s not highly educated, so he couldn’t fill out those forms. So then the government charged him in court for failure to comply with the information request, and he had to pay $2,000. There are many others like him who are being charged in court and fined a lot of money. So our campaign, #FREEMYBUSINESS, aims to change this and finally break down all the barriers to prosperity."

Tricia Yeoh receives the Think Tank Shark Tank — Asia competition grand prize.

“Thousands of stories like these mean that the country loses as much as US$12 billion a year on cumbersome business regulations, economic opportunities that we would have otherwise gained,” Yeoh wrote in a commentary for the Sun Daily. “The poorest of the poor are affected, and worse, it stifles their spirit of enterprise and efforts to get themselves out of poverty … They are the true drivers of growth as they create jobs, and perhaps more importantly, they are the very epitome of human potential that strives against all odds to better their lives and that of their families.”


Access to justice for all in Honduras

The winner of the 2017 Think Tank Shark Tank — Latin America competition was Jorge Colindres, legal director for Fundación Eléutera (Honduras), for his “Access to Justice for All” project pitch.

Jorge Colindres with Enrique Duhau (Argentina) and Atlas Network President Alex Chafuen.

“Access to justice affects a person's dignity directly,” Colindres said. “Not only is it essential in safeguarding the rule of law, but it is also key in promoting economic growth and social mobility.”


Reversing the dialogue in Ghana

The winner of the 2017 Think Tank Shark Tank — Africa competition was Peter Bismark Kwofie of the Institute for Liberty and Policy Innovation (ILAPI) (Ghana) for his pitch of the “National Undergraduate Debate and Essay Competitions.”

Peter Bismark Kwofie presents his winning Regional Think Tank Shark Tank Competition pitch of the “National Undergraduate Debate and Essay Competitions.”

“Too many students in Ghana have a misguided role of government. They think government’s role is to create jobs, but we know that isn’t the case,” said Bismark Kwofie. “So these debate and essay competitions will help them learn, for the first time in many cases, the basic principles of freedom and classical liberalism as a fulcrum to creating prosperity for a free society.”


A guiding light for intellectual leaders in Serbia

The winner of the 2017 Think Tank Shark Tank — Europe competition was Petar Čekerevac, executive manager of Libertarian Club Libek (Serbia), for his organization’s proposed Lighthouse Outlet project to establish an online media outlet bringing together the brightest libertarian minds of Serbia.

Petar Čekerevac receives the Think Tank Shark Tank — Europe competition grand prize.

Libek’s proposed online platform will serve Serbian thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and future leaders and will give a voice to freedom loving intellectuals in the hope of ending the echo chamber of political discourse that currently exists in Serbia.

"People in Serbia are apathetic and disappointed with the current economic and political situation of the country and the failed promise of reforms,” said Čekerevac. “And when people are disappointed, apathetic or angry, they look for new ideas and approaches in politics. The Lighthouse Outlet will break through the status quo protecting media and show the way towards a society of prosperity, free of government controls of the economy and the dominance of the politicians. In the context of tabloid media, clickbait headlines and poor journalism, the Lighthouse will serve a different view on politics, economy and other topics of interest."