Students at Vancouver Island University (VIU) entering a new business plan competition will have a chance to test their entrepreneurial ideas before a panel of ‘Dragon’s Den’ style judges later this fall.
VIU, the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation (NEDC) and the Pieter de Reuver Foundation have partnered to launch the VIU Business Plan Competition, which will see students in teams or individually compete for donated cash prizes totaling $10,000 in two different categories: one for students enrolled in a Entrepreneurship course at VIU, and an open category for all VIU students.
“There has been great support from the region’s business organizations, all very interested in recognizing and encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship in ideas presented by VIU students,” said Fathiyyah Fallata, a VIU MBA student and intern with Startup Nanaimo who is helping coordinate and promote the competition.
The idea for the competition was seeded last spring in a reading circle hosted by Startup Nanaimo and supported by VIU students and Dr. Dave Witty, VIU’s Vice-President Academic, said Dr. Ken Hammer, instructor in VIU’s MBA and Management programs, and a participant in the reading group.
“Twenty-five of us read the book Startup Communities, which suggested universities need to promote entrepreneurial activities for students,” said Hammer, who also volunteers as a facilitator for Startup Nanaimo.
The discussion on a community business plan competition attracted interest and support from NEDC, VIU, the Pieter de Reuver Foundation, Innovation Island, Community Futures, Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Vancouver Island and Tourism Nanaimo, Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Area, and Young Professionals of Nanaimo.
Community partners have stepped up with both prize money and expertise — prizes of $2,000, $1,250, $750, and two at $500 will be awarded in the two categories for teams or individuals winning first, second and third place, and honourable mentions.
Prizes will be awarded following a ‘Dragon’s Den-style’ pitch competition at VIU at 3 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 28 in Building 250, Room 125. Open to the public, the event will involve competitors presenting their ideas to a panel of expert judges from Innovation Island, Tourism Vancouver Island & Tourism Nanaimo, the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce, NEDC and community businesses.
Full details on VIU Business Plan Competition can be found at www.via.ca/bp
— Submitted by VIU