The Severn Trent team won its place in the competition by winning the first contest shortly before Christmas. At an all-day event at London's Kensington Hilton Hotel, the team fended off challengers to collect £10,000 of the total £15,000 in prize money.
The challenge, which has been developed by Bill Robertson of Edit 515, is designed to replicate the operations of a medium-sized consumer goods company which sells into Europe and the US, over 15 months. The competition is open to people from all sizes of companies, as well as to individuals banded together, or even groups of school children.
Management games have been used for many years by business training organisations as a risk-free way of introducing new employees to the way a company works, or to enable more experienced employees to try out fresh ideas or strategies.
Unlike many of these games, however, the version being used for the Independent Challenge is highly interactive, with the teams of up to six members competing not just against a computer, but also against each other for a share of the market and of the labour force.
The criterion for success will be their "company's" share performance. To achieve that, the participants will make a series of decisions over several months, culminating in the final in November. They will have to demonstrate a range of abilities besidesthe general skills shown by last year's winners, dealing with such issues as production, design, marketing, exchange rates and human resources.
If you are interested in taking part, telephone 0181-671 7733 or fax 0181-671 4552. The closing date for entries is 28 April, but those returning entry forms by 17 March will be eligible for a discount on the entry fee.