April 26, 2021Print | PDF
Each year, first-year Lazaridis School of Business & Economics Bachelor of Business Administration students at Wilfrid Laurier University develop original new venture ideas in a competition that tests their capacity for teamwork and innovative thinking, and their ability to deliver a convincing pitch to seasoned business professionals.
Working in groups, students in the 18th annual BDO New Venture Competition presented their business plans in front of their BU121 labs. The Instructional Assistants from each of those labs put forward the winning team to move on to the semi-finals, judged by alumni. The competition began with 283 teams with 46 of them making it to the semi-final round. Six of those teams earned a spot in the finals.
BU121 course coordinator and assistant professor, Laura Allan, was grateful for the commitment to excellence displayed by the teams during the fully virtual event. “Thank you all for keeping the bar so high. This year’s competition is as good, or better, than any other year and you’ve done it remotely under tough circumstances. I am proud of you and you should be proud of yourselves for achieving this,” Allan told her students.
"Fall in love with the problem, not the solution."
Normally, the finalist teams have up to 10 minutes to present their business plan to a panel of judges. This year, teams showed pre-recorded videos followed by a live Q&A session.
Presentations were evaluated on four key criteria: idea (how original and feasible is the business idea?); business model (has the team considered all the critical elements required to make this possible?); presentation (does the team make a compelling argument to convince the judges this would work?); and Q&A (does the team display enough confidence and knowledge about their idea to convince the judges that they’d want to invest?).
This year’s judging panel included:
Robert Antoniades, co-founder and general partner, Information Venture Partners
Kate Kaplan, partner and GTA Technology Life Sciences Industry Leader, Canadian Private Client Tax Services, BDO Canada
Kerry Roberts Sneyd (BBA ’97), co-founder, Everipe
Tim Sothern, partner, BDO Canada
Scott Warne, president, Warne & Benson Ltd.
The judges all said they were amazed by how well the finalist teams did and noted what an accomplishment it was to make it to the finals.
Final judge Kerry Roberts Sneyd gave an inspiring keynote at the awards ceremony, describing her experiences co-founding and building the Everipe brand of convenient, healthy smoothie kits using naturally freeze-dried fruit. During the address she also conveyed some key pieces of advice for the Lazaridis School’s aspiring entrepreneurs, like: “Fall in love with the problem, not the solution; your big break will come many times, don’t let it break you; and find your 'ride or die partner' who will always support you.”
Our sincere thanks to the judges and warmest congratulations to our finalists.
Members: Sophia Divita; Teresa Pelow; Nicole Samylin; Tammy Tran; Anna Turkstra.
Pitch: A sound-proofing door sweeper to minimize distractions and interruptions for people working from home.
Members: Margaret Lovstova; Aidan Mathias; Halisha Mistry; Jordan Monbourquette; Hira Sandeela.
Pitch: Location tracking pin that attaches to any piece of clothing and links to your smartphone to alert up to five emergency contacts when triggered.
Members: Jordan Lavi; Eric Martin; Luke Petepiece-Moore; Aidan Rudd; Jacob Stephen.
Pitch: Reusable smart water bottle that tracks intake and shares the results on your smartphone.
Members: Ashlyn Firek; Derek Kwong; Mariah Manente; Matthew Urbanky; Jory Usprech.
Pitch: Biodegradable single-use flip flops for commercial use made of polyurethane derived from algae.
Members: Rona Fang; Khushi Chugh; Sunjot Kooner; Vincent Situ; Myles Smith.
Pitch: Waste-free, biodegradable flavour capsules for cafés to replace flavoured syrup pumps made from non-recyclable plastic.
Members: Celine Chung; Eric Corrigan; Kenson Hui; Olivia Thiessen; Arist Xu.
Pitch: Wearable technology for improving posture in an interactive and gamified way.