U of G Hosts First Business-Pitching Competition

February 29, 2008 - News Release

Thousands of dollars in prizes will be awarded to the student teams who present the best ideas for a new business during a first-ever business-pitching competition at the University of Guelph.

The Nicol Venture Creation Competition will be held March 5 at 5:45 p.m. in Rozanski Hall.

Hosted by the College of Management and Economics (CME) and funded by the Wesley and Mary Nicol Charitable Foundation, the event involves students presenting business ideas in front of a panel of high-profile judges.

"It's going to be an intense competition," said Prof. David Prescott, CME's associate dean (academic). "The purpose is to stimulate entrepreneurship among students. There are even some students who, if they win, plan to use the cash prizes to actually start up their businesses."

The winning team will receive $6,000, with $3,000 going to the second-place team and $1,000 to the team that places third.

Similar competitions are occurring at 10 other Ontario universities as well as Conestoga College. The top three teams from each school will move on to the Nicol LaunchPad $50k April 4 to compete for cash and in-kind prizes of up to $25,000.

Five teams will compete at the U of G event. They will be judged by John Sleeman, CEO of Sleeman Breweries Ltd; Bill Johnson, former president and CEO of McDonald's Restaurants Canada; Anne Lockie, president and CEO of Royal Mutual Funds; Tom Peters, partner of Advanis; and Rob Wildeboer, executive chair of Martinrea International Inc.

The student ideas for new businesses are: an electronic restaurant menu that displays menu items for diners and helps reduce the time servers spend at tables; portable cereal that uses spray-drying milk and can be sold in vending machines; gluten-free beer for those who suffer from Celiac disease; a distribution company that will deliver biodegradable T-shirt-style bags to local retail stores; and a supply company that will provide biodegradable plastic cutlery, plates and cups made from potato and cornstarch to local restaurants and cafeterias.

Prescott said the long-term goal of this competition is to encourage students to work together on turning ideas into marketable products or services.

"There are a number of disciplines at this university where students are coming up with creative ideas with commercial potential," he said. "We would like to further develop a curriculum-based, multi-disciplinary approach where students from a host of areas such as engineering, child development, plant agriculture, food science, computer science and the arts can connect with business students who will help them develop a product or service to the point where it can be launched as an enterprise."

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, l.hunt@exec.uoguelph.ca, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982, d.healey@exec.uoguelph.ca.

University of Guelph
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Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1