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April 16, 2015

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Laurier Launchpad startup Local Line will be one of six Canadian quarterfinalists attending the prestigious International Business Model Competition (IBMC) held at Brigham Young University May 1-2.

Local Line is an online platform that connects chefs with a “menu’s worth” of local food – and therefore local farmers – in their communities.

IBMC competitors will be judged on how well they have validated their business, interacted with customers and clients early on in their planning, and adapted their business to meet the demands of consumers.

Local Line co-founder Cole Jones sees the company’s participation in this international competition as an opportunity to take Local Line to the next level.

“We are going to be on an international stage, competing with some of the best student-run businesses in the world,” said Jones. “So far, it has been a very positive competition and I’ve learned so much getting to sit down with other entrepreneurs and have great conversations. We want to make an impact and fix the food system, so it’s very exciting to move forward.”

Jones, who recently graduated from Laurier’s Philosophy program, developed the company with University of Waterloo Environmental Studies graduate Cole McLay.

“Local Line is a great example of how an idea created in a classroom can become a thrilling career option to scale a meaningful business,” said Steve Farlow, executive director for the Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship.

Jones and McLay, along with support from Anne Forler, LaunchPad program leader, will be competing with students from internationally renowned universities such as the Harvard Business School, Brigham Young University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). There will be approximately 40 quarterfinalists from around the world, with the finalists being judged by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Steve Blank, Alex Osterwalder and Nathan Furr.

This is the second year in a row that the LaunchPad program has sent a team to the International Business Model Competition.

In 2014, first-year Laurier School of Business and Economics students Andrew Paradi and Brandon Chow placed first in the Canadian Business Model Competition with their company Teknically and placed in the top four Canadian teams in the international competition.

The International Business Model Competition was founded in 2013 to establish a radically new approach to developing new companies. The competition is offered exclusively to students enrolled in a four-year program at an accredited postsecondary institution anywhere in the world.

Laurier LaunchPad is an experiential learning opportunity for Laurier students and alumni to discover, validate and launch an innovative new venture. The program teaches the latest methods in entrepreneurial management to eliminate risk and increase the chances of creating a successful startup.


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