Innovative Cereal Wins Business-Pitching Competition

March 06, 2008 - News Release

A super-quick and portable cereal served up by a team of three students captured top prize at the University of Guelph's first-ever business-pitching competition.

The team "Cereal to Go" was awarded $6,000 for first place in the Nicol Venture Creation Competition, which was sponsored and hosted by the College of Management and Economics (CME) with prize money provided by the Wesley and Mary Nicol Charitable Foundation.

In front of a panel of high-profile judges, the winning team pitched a breakfast product that uses spray-dried milk so consumers simply have to add water.

Developed by Sally Boeckner, Jamie MacLaren and Ben Holland, the unique process maintains the nutritional value of the milk and the cereal could be offered as a healthy breakfast choice in vending machines.

"The ideas that the students came up with were all innovative and have the potential to become real businesses, which is what we are hoping this competition will encourage," said David Prescott, (CME) associate dean (academic). "It was a great experience for the students and we're grateful to the judges for supporting our young entrepreneurs in this way."

A panel of top business leaders - Bill Johnson, former president and CEO of Macdonald's Canada, John Sleeman of Sleeman Brewing, Advanis partner Tom Peters and John Pollice district vice-president of TD Canada Trust - grilled the entrepreneurs on their proposals before handing over cash prizes to the top three teams.

Second prize of $3,000 was awarded to the team "Green World Solutions" made up of Kwasi Danso and Jonathan Wolff, for their idea to distribute biodegradable plastic products such as cutlery, plates and cups to restaurants and cafeterias throughout the Greater Toronto Area. The team also plans to explore producing these products using locally grown potato and corn crops and having them locally manufactured.

An idea for gluten-free beer grabbed third place and $1,000. The "Gordon Mills Gluten Free" team made up of Stephanie Hecimovich and Daniela Lopez proposed to produce and distribute a beer that contains no barley or malt. One out of every 223 Canadians have celiac disease, which causes an intolerance to gluten and means they can't drink traditional beer.

The winning teams from Guelph will move on to the Nicol LaunchPad $50K, where they will compete April 4 against the top three teams from 10 other Ontario universities as well as Conestoga College for cash and in-kind prizes totalling $50,000.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338,, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982,

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