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June 14, 2022Print | PDF
Each year, first-year students in the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics Bachelor of Business Administration program at Wilfrid Laurier University develop original new venture ideas in a competition that tests their capacity for teamwork, innovative thinking, and their ability to deliver a convincing presentation to seasoned business professionals.
Working in groups, the 19th annual BDO New Venture Competition was the culmination of a project that started in January. Students developed ideas on their own, initially using ideation methods and pitched their top idea to their labs. Next, students were assigned to teams in which they selected one venture idea and developed a business model and plan for its launch. The Instructional Assistants from each of those labs put forward the winning team to move on to the semi-finals, judged by Lazaridis School alumni. The competition began with 336 teams; 65 teams made it to the semi-final round and 6 teams earned a spot in the finals.
BU121 course coordinator and lecturer, Leanne Hagarty, was proud of the commitment to excellence displayed by the teams during the event. “By embracing this assignment as a valuable learning opportunity, you gained much more than a good grade – you developed critical skills and competencies,” Hagarty told her students.
Teams were judged on the following criteria at the finals:
The finalist teams had 10 minutes to present, followed by 10 minutes for a Q&A with our judges. Judges included:
“On behalf of BDO Canada it is our continuing pleasure to be here to sponsor this competition,” said Southern. “It is great to be here with all of you. What you are doing here blows me away. I see lots of presentations in a business setting and frankly, they don’t hold a candle to you all.”
The winning teams were then announced, with cash awards being awarded to all finalist teams thanks to the event sponsor, BDO. Congratulations to all our finalists!
Uni-Shoe – multi-purpose athletic shoes where users can change out the sole to meet their specific activity needs.
Onyx – a face shaving kit subscription service for men of colour.
VeriSafe – restaurant grade kitchen goggles that use a black-light germ detection system.
Ecofiber Beverage Bottle – 100% biodegradable and sustainable bottle for any beverage.
Study Maps – app and sensor model for post-secondary campuses to provide students real-time information about places open for them to study.
Smartlet – a smart home energy monitor that tracks energy consumption and makes personal recommendations to help save money.
The winning team, Uni-Shoe, comprises of students Alex Campagnolo, Lea Braun, Maria Boutros, Michael Burke, and Nicolas Bruno. “The New Venture Competition was an amazing opportunity that provided me many tools to help me both academically and professionally. It was also lots of fun to have the opportunity to compete and present in front of the Lazaridis community. My [experience] in the competition will be something I will always remember” shared Braun. To learn more about our undergraduate programs and the immersive learning opportunities available to our students, click here.
Following the presentations, students had the opportunity to hear from Lazaridis School alumna and competition judge, Marissa Vettoretti (BBA ’20), about her entrepreneurial journey. During her time at the Lazaridis School, Vettoretti co-founded EarthSuds while she was a part ofEnactus Laurier, a student club .EarthSuds is a single-use soap tablet, which dissolves when crushed in water and lathers like regular soap.
Vettoretti spoke about the challenges of creating a new product, and how proud she was when she and her team were awarded runner-up at the Enactus World Cup finals two years in a row.
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