The first weekend of November at BioLinc, we held an event titled ‘Start-Up Weekend’. Going into it, I must admit I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The premise of the weekend is for students to form teams and collaborate on a business idea. The culmination of this event is a presentation in front of judges pitching their developed business plan.
The opening ceremony went off without a hitch, with an inspiring speech from Stephen Amoah from My Career City.
Once groups had formed, they wasted no time in beginning the collaboration process. To my surprise, multiple groups stayed well into Friday night talking and deliberating, trying to solidify their idea. When we all reconvened in the morning for breakfast, innovation and entrepreneurship was in the air. Every group had a quality idea that solved problems people face on a daily basis. Not being a serial entrepreneur myself, I was left astonished by some of the ideas. They were all vastly different yet genius in their own respect.
What was interesting to observe from an outside perspective, was the plan of attack each group took when starting to develop their respective business. Some went straight to market research to validate that there was a need for their product. Others felt it there was more value in focusing on designing a prototype. No matter how teams began, every team followed the same formula over the course of the weekend. Through 3 seminars, gallons of coffee and pizza to fuel everyone’s productive minds, Saturday flew by with some teams leaving at the end of dinner for some much deserved rest, whilst others stayed until what felt like Sunday morning.
To my delight, when Sunday morning arrived, all 6 teams were right on schedule for their presentation. With the order randomly selected, and the K-Cup Cup constructed, teams took turns presenting in front of an esteemed panel of judges. Between Dr. Camille Rutherford, David D’Angelo from Trivium Industries, Glenn Stevens, manager of GSB Consultants and Geordan Robertson, a senior manager from Meridian Credit Union, teams had the privilege to hear valuable insight.
Through careful deliberation; Nancy Lan, Rebecca Morkunas, John Raimondo, Abbey Stansfield and Cherry Kuai of ‘As Time Goes By’ finished runner up to Alex Mohr, Madi Fuller, Chris Jia, Preston Engstrom and Harrison Olagos of Int-House.
Those two companies, in addition to the other four, are further detailed below.
To conclude, the depth in which these entrepreneurs had developed their respective business plans astonished me. It is truly amazing so see what can be achieved through hard work, dedication and collaboration. Coming into this weekend, I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of business ideas. After seeing such ingenious ideas come to fruition first-hand, it gives me hope that anybody is one small step away from a large idea.
Order of presentation;
Avail-a-space (Vijayita Bhardwaj, Carlin Jessop, Melane Dabah, Arvinder Singh, Joshua Giancola)
Avail-a-space collaborated well as a group. During group discussions, their dialogue was incredibly immersive. The culmination being a thorough and informative presentation about an app that would show students which locations on campus were available to study. Their idea was well thought out and incredibly useful as a student constantly looking for available space within the school to study. It was a passionate presentation due to the evident nature that this was a problem every presenter had faced.
Int-House (Alex Mohr, Madi Fuller, Chris Jia, Preston Engstrom, Harrison Olagos)
Immediately after breaking away from the dinner, this team bunkered down in the BioLinc conference room. If I hadn’t witnessed myself, to the contrary, I would have believed it if someone had told me they did not leave until Sunday morning. Their hard work and dedication paid off though, through their dynamic presentation, market research, a functional web page, and legitimate contracts secured all over the course of the weekend. Their idea was to bridge the gap between international students and local landlords. As the winning team, they have continued to collaborate, but under the name ‘Cross Border Housing’.
PlanBook (Mohamad Hamade, Matt Peskett, Colin Hardy, Steve Hann, Karim Hamasni)
PlanBook had their idea well thought through from the beginning with key features meticulously chosen. The incredible feat was that they had a working prototype, which was unveiled during their presentation to the audience, coded in its entirety over the course of the weekend. It was a multipurpose calendar app with a unique and very intriguing import method for group meetings or tests. Having the working prototype ensured that their value added was clearly visible through demonstration. This was incredibly helpful in understand all the unique features that PlanBook would offer consumers that differentiates them from their competition.
Hot Spot (Scott Bossy, Kevin Oliver, Huzaifa Faizan, Reece Fisher)
Hot Spot was an idea that came to be due to recent experiences by a few of the group members. It was something I can imagine we’ve all been through. Arriving at a new city on a random night, wanting to paint the town but not having the slightest clues where to go. With the app Hot Spot, you can see real time capacity of local bars in addition to a wealth of other information. Through their informative and dynamic presentation, it was made evidently clear that this would be an incredibly beneficial app, not just for the consumer, but for the bar owners as well.
LastMinuteVids.ca (Matthew Chong, Sachin Kaulshal, Omar Khan)
LastMinuteVids.ca tried to bridge the gap between students who procrastinate and those who proactively prepare for exams. Those who have already learned the knowledge are compensated monetarily for essentially teaching the students who need some last minute aid. Their presentation clarified many of the questions I had about this business, and honestly, I thought it could extremely beneficial to every student if it became operational.
As Time Goes By (Nancy Lan, Rebecca Morkunas, John Raimondo, Abbey Stansfield, Cherry Kuai)
As Time Goes By is a service that digitally catalogs heirlooms for families through a specific process clearly outlined in their informative presentation. It wasn’t clear until part way through said presentation how scalable and realistic this idea was. They managed to completely convince me that not only was this an amazing idea, but made me wonder how no one had thought of this idea yet. All it took was one group member having to go through the experience to realize that it could be a very lucrative business.
Check out pictures from our event here: