Vancouver Isand University students

Vancouver Isand University students

Business hopefuls vie for VIU prizes

Students could get cut of $10,000 in cash, $7,000 in services

If you’re a VIU student or grad, and have a great business plan you want to try on in front of a savvy panel, forget about the Dragon’s Den – your old alma mater has a better forum for budding entrepreneurs.

Vancouver Island University has announced the VIU Business Plan competition. Students and alumni can put their best business foot forward for a chance to win a share in $10,000 worth of cash prizes and $7,000 in business services.

“We know there’s a strong entrepreneurial spirit in our community, and among VIU students and alumni who have great ideas for businesses,” said John Predyk, professor in VIU’s Faculty of Management and chair of the 2015 competition.

“We encourage all students from all faculties at VIU, and alumni from any year to consider developing a business idea to enter in the competition.”

VIU has partnered with lead sponsor the Pieter de Reuver Foundation, StartUp Nanaimo, the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation (NEDC), Young Professionals of Nanaimo, and Coastal Community Credit Union, along with a growing list of regional business partners offering business services as part of the prize package.

“Our students and alumni entering the competition also benefit from the guidance of experienced business professionals who have offered their mentorship through the entry process,” says Predyk, adding entrants can gain valuable skills in strategic planning, project management, critical thinking, professional presentations, and community engagement.

The second annual VIU Business Plan Competition is seeking entries from currently enrolled VIU students or alumni of VIU who have successfully completed at least 16 credits.

Business ideas must be pre-revenue ventures, or operating less than one year from the first sale. Ideas from all sectors, from hospitality to technology, to tourism and social enterprise are welcome. Entrants can enter individually or in teams.

Interested students and alumni can learn more about the competition by visiting the VIU Open House on Friday, Oct. 2 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Faculty of Management and the VIU Business Plan Competition will have staff on hand to answer questions at a booth in the VIU Expo, located in the upper cafeteria (Building 300). A representative from last year’s winner, start-up business ReWild Homes, will also be in attendance.

The competition deadline for submission of business plans is Nov. 16. Entrants will be short listed by a panel of judges that includes VIU faculty, professional coaches and business mentors.

Those selected will advance to the ‘Dragon’s Den-style Pitchfest’ at VIU on Dec. 4. Winners will be announced that evening, with prizes awarded to student and alumni category winners in the following categories: first place, $2,500; second place $1,000; third place, $500.