Business Students Earn Top Prizes at Competition

December 06, 2007 - Campus Bulletin

Gluten-free beer and biodegradable plastics were the business ideas of the U of G teams that captured two of the top three places in the iGNITION $1K Pitch competition last week.

Bachelor of commerce students Stephanie Hecimovich and Chris Karniej won for their business idea of brewing gluten-free beer for people who can't digest conventional cereal-based beers.

Kwasi Danso and Jonathan Wolff, also B. Comm. students, earned a top spot for their idea to manufacture and distribute biodegradable plastics.

The College of Management and Economics (CME) sent five teams to compete for the top three prizes of $1,000 each. They were among 45 teams from six universities and Conestoga College who participated in the competition held at the Accelerator Centre in Waterloo.

David Prescott, CME associate dean (academic), said the students had a "remarkably strong showing," with four of the five teams making it to the final round of 10.

"It was a tremendously exciting afternoon of extraordinarily high-quality pitches by all of our teams," said Prescott. "They are all first-class ambassadors for our college and university."

The students had to pitch their business ideas within 90 seconds to a panel of judges.

The purpose of the regional competition is to force students to pick out the most important aspects of a business plan and condense it into a short elevator pitch to prospective investors. Winners also receive funding so they can turn their business ideas into reality.

"In CME we have plans to greatly increase the participation of B. Comm. students in this type of experimental learning, particularly interdisciplinary work that connects business students with student creators of new products or services across campus."

For this competition, two of the five teams developed their business ideas under the direction of marketing and consumer studies professor Tanya Mark.

The other three teams emerged from a course developed by Prof. Elliott Currie, Department of Business, Prof. Melanie Lang, Department of Marketing and Consumer Studies, and Andreas Boecker, Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics, for which they received a Learning Enhancement Fund (LEF) grant from the University. Contributions to both the LEF application and the team-teaching were made by a number of OAC faculty.

The one-day competition in Waterloo was a preparation for the regional Nicol LaunchPad $50K competition to be held in March 2008. There, the cash prizes will be $25,000 for first place, $15,000 for second and $10,000 for third.

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1