Headlines (Campus Updates)
School of Business & Economics
Laurier celebrates New Venture Competition’s 10th anniversary
Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing
The Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship celebrated its 10th annual New Venture Competition this weekend, sponsored by BDO Dunwoody. On March 31, the top five teams competed to win the BDO New Venture Cup and scholarship prizes for each member of the finalist team.
The competition is run by associate professor of policy and BU111 coordinator, Sofy Carayannopoulos and assistant professor of policy and BU121 coordinator, Laura Allan, in conjunction with the Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship. The competition introduces entrepreneurship to more than 1,100 first-year BBA students at Laurier.
The 2012 winning team was ReVamp, a protein shake vending machine for gyms, which included: Laura Douglas, Gagandeep Sandhu, Frank Schotman, Kaiwen Huang, and Brady Goodall. Second place went to USTEP, third place went to Give ‘n’ Go. Additional finalists included Fast Serve and Vitality.
“The BDO New Venture project and competition provides students with an invaluable opportunity to apply their knowledge of the business environment and functional areas to identify a feasible new venture opportunity,” said Carayannopoulos. “In addition, they build research, writing, team, and presentation skills, resulting in stronger students who are well-positioned for academic and career success.”
In BU111 in the fall term students work in teams to generate new venture ideas and research and assess their potential. In the winter term in BU121 they develop a business model and plan, and present it to their peers during lab classes throughout March. The top team in each of the 40 labs moves on to semi-finals, and potentially finals where business plans are presented to a panel of external business community members that selects the winning team.
The judges, all of whom are alumni, included: Lilian Bass (’86), who is currently the executive-in-residence at Communitech; Dean Elliott (’87), a chartered accountant and partner with BDO; Nabil Fahel (’11), a senior analyst in Communitech’s Venture Services Group; Greg Overholt (’08), the founder and executive director of the national student-led social venture Students Offering Support (SOS) and Tim Sothern (’89), a BDO-designated assurance specialist.
“BDO is proud and excited to sponsor the WLU BDO New Venture Competition again this year,” said Sothern. “We are continually impressed with the quality of the ideas and presentations that we see each year at the competition. We see this as great opportunity to be involved in our community and to meet some of the quality students that we hope will join our BDO team in the future.”
On March 31, after the presentations and judges’ deliberations, students had the opportunity to hear from a Canadian entrepreneur and Laurier alumnus, Jeff Nugent. Nugent is the founder, president and CEO of Contingent Workforce Solutions (CWS), which was ranked as the number one fastest growing company in Canada by Profit Magazine.
The BDO New Venture competition is a perfect example of community engagement. There are many volunteers, such as students, faculty, staff and alumni who return to campus to help provide this type of programing to our students.
“The Annual BDO New Venture Competition is a great opportunity for our first year students to show what they are made of, ignite their entrepreneurial spirit, integrate all their learning, and hone their soft skills,” said Allan. “Every year I am so proud and impressed by their incredible ability and enthusiasm.”