U of G Hosts Venture Competition, Students to Pitch Ideas at OCE Event

April 28, 2009 - News Release

The University of Guelph's College of Management and Economics will host the semi-finals of a national business pitching competition Friday. Some 25 teams will compete for a chance to move on to the finals and vie for more than $50,000 in cash and prizes.

The LaunchPad $50K Venture Creation Competition involves people who've joined together in teams to develop business plans and start successful businesses. About 60 people are expected to participate.

Students from U of G, the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, McMaster University and Conestoga College will compete in one of three streams: technology, general business or social entrepreneurship.

They will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges from local businesses and organizations. Teams will be evaluated on their business plans' viability, sustainability and financial feasibility.

Winning teams will receive a $1,000 cash prize and proceed to the finals May 8 at the Accelerator Centre in Waterloo, where more than $50,000 in cash and prizes will be divided among the winning teams.

The May 1 competition, held in Rozanski Hall, is open to the public and media. Morning sessions run from 10 a.m. to noon and afternoon sessions from 1 to 4 p.m.

In addition, a team of U of G students have been chosen by the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) to present their business idea at the Discovery 2009: Future Ready conference being held May 11 and 12 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Food science student Blair Cameron and marketing and consumer studies students Amy Nodwell and Sarah Goldie came up with the idea of using local water buffalo milk to make mozzarella cheese.

They developed the idea as part of a fourth-year course taught by business professor Elliott Currie and marketing and consumer studies professor Melanie Lang. The course takes students from different majors through an eight-month process that includes the development of a new product and the creation of a business plan.

The course is also part of the Connections program sponsored by OCE, the pre-eminent research-to-commercialization vehicle in Ontario. The "cheese" team was selected as the winners from the Connections program by OCE.

The team will compete in OCE's "Discovery Showcase" during the annual conference. The competition involves making an oral presentation to a panel of judges, followed by a question-and-answer period.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, lhunt@uoguelph.ca; or Barry Gunn, Ext. 56982, bagunn@uoguelph.ca.

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