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April 4, 2014 2:56 PM

Students pitch winning business ideas

Conestoga students pitched their innovative business ideas to a panel of local business experts, members of the college community and their guests in the inaugural Scotiabank Startup Students Challenge held March 25 at the college's Centre for Entrepreneurship.

The challenge, one of several programs offered through the recently opened Centre for Entrepreneurship (C4E) at Conestoga's Doon campus, featured five-minute business plan presentations by six students to industry experts including local entrepreneurs, faculty members and a representative from sponsor ScotiaBank.

The challenge, part of Startup Students, is a free program open to all Conestoga students. It is designed to connect participants with entrepreneurs and industry experts who provide advice on establishing a small business. The series of workshops includes modules focused on different areas of running a small business including business plan development and product pitches.

For Will McIntyre, a student in Conestoga's Small Business Ventures graduate certificate program, participating in the Startup Students Challenge meant gaining additional seed money for his business. Winner of the Best Pitch prize for his business concept The Williamson Smokehouse, a line of all-natural beef jerky products, McIntyre earned $1,000 towards making his business a reality.

Business Administration - Marketing student Anthony Bailey earned both the People's Choice award and Best Business award, netting him $3,000 to support Bottle-in-a-Box, his business concept for high-visibility cardboard boxes designed to safely transport wine bottles and other bottled beverages.

Barbara Fennessy, Director of Entrepreneurship & Applied Research, said the Centre for Entrepreneurship is a valuable resource to Conestoga students.

"We are so pleased to offer this amazing resource as part of our institution," said Fennesy. "Through the generous support of sponsors, we can encourage and enable students who are interested in starting small businesses."

As a student in the Small Business Ventures (SBV) program McIntyre, received an additional $1,000 of seed money after successfully completing the first 15 weeks of the program, provided through the support of RBC.

The SBV graduate certificate program provides students with opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge needed to successfully start or grow a small business. Enrolment in the program is limited to 20 students: some spaces are still available for entry in September 2014.

For information about other programs available through Conestoga’s Centre for Entrepreneurship, visit the C4E website.

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