(Left to right: Adrienne-Marie Lloren, founder of GetAmped; Madi Fuller, founder of Campus Brainiac)
It was an exciting time for entrepreneurs last weekend! Nineteen Niagara-based young entrepreneurs participated in the “Improve Your Pitch” weekend hosted by BioLinc, Brock University’s business incubator run by the Goodman School of Business. This weekend event was part of the BioLinc’s Kick-Starting Entrepreneurship Program, a program designed for Niagara-based young entrepreneurs aged 18-29 to sharpen their entrepreneurial skills.
In particular, the “Improve Your Pitch” weekend featured a workshop on Product and Process Design by Prof. Michael Armstrong, who teaches operations management at the Goodman School of Business, and a panel discussion that included John Wilson, Director of Brock’s Office of Research Services, Rachel Crane, Manager of Niagara College’s ncTakeOff and Alex McKee, founder of Millennial Exchange, about entrepreneur support services available in Niagara. Kelly Provost and Graham Lowe from the St. Catharines Enterprise Centre also delivered a comprehensive workshop about entrepreneur funding opportunities and local business regulations.
The pitch competition started on Saturday afternoon. Each entrepreneur had three minutes to pitch their business ideas, followed by a “mentor speed-dating” event featuring experienced entrepreneurs, community leaders and Brock alumni. Mentors met with young entrepreneurs to give advice and feedback on their business ideas and pitch performance. After a night of revision and preparation, the final pitch competition took place on Sunday afternoon. Based on performance of the two pitches, judges chose winners of the Best Pitch and Most Improved Pitch awards. According to judges’ feedback, everyone had improved significantly in terms of structure, confidence and expression.
Brock student Madison Fuller, founder of Campus Brainiac, won the Best Pitch award, while Brock alumna Adrienne Marie Lloren (BSc ’15), founder of GetAmped, won the Most Improved Pitch award.
Judges commented on Lloren’s improvement, saying she went from reading from her notes on the first day to speaking to the audience with such confidence. Lloren said she greatly benefited from the speed-dating event with mentors and got different perspectives that helped her improve. After over 100 practices, and with her “live your dream” energy and attitude, she delivered a stunning presentation.
“Never be afraid of being different,” she said.
That’s the same philosophy she uses to run GetAmped, a video marketing company that helps small businesses amplify their marketing messages, with the highest possible degree of passion and energy.
As for Fuller, she consistently delivered a high-quality pitch from the beginning. Starting with her first business idea pitch from last year’s Kick-start Weekend, she has been getting increasingly confident and comfortable with presentations. Fuller’s advice for delivering an effective pitch is to tell a compelling and convincing story. Campus Brainiac has been progressing since last October and she hopes to help more students find tutors effectively through her business. Campus Brainiac connects tutors and tutees through an easy-to-use mobile app. She hopes to launch the website by the end of February and the app in April. She is very positive about the future of Campus Brainiac and is looking forward to expanding to the United States once it proves its success in Canada.
Thanks to everyone to who made the “Improve Your Pitch” weekend event a success and to the young entrepreneurs in Niagara who attended.
By: Chris Jia