Students pitch their business ideas for prizes

ICE Club hosts elevator pitch competition as their inaugural event

TRU student Kenton Sanderson achieved first place with his innovative painting business proposal to use a interactive mobile app for estimating. (Juan Cabrejo/The Omega)

The TRUSU ICE (Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship) Club hosted their inaugural Tip of the Iceberg elevator pitch competition last Friday, providing students with an opportunity to compete for monetary prizes by presenting their business ideas in three minutes or less. Contestants would present their ideas in any format of their choosing to a judging panel of local business experts. Awards of $1000, $700 and $500 were granted to the top three pitches, along with a $300 prize for the most socially responsible idea.

The panel consisted of both business professors and successful entrepreneurs including associate professor and founder of the ICE Club Bruce Martin, associate professor Farimah Hakem Zadeh, Brad Wood, co-founder of DataBox Technology Solutions, Stacey Krolow, founder of Pepper – Your Badass Business BFF and Tim Hoogenboom, visionary behind HealthFare Restaurants.

Pitches were judged based on feasibility, explaining a practical step-by-step process to implement and mobilize the business idea, how innovative it is compared to existing ones in the market, along with its relevance to solving a real-world problem. Students presented a wide variety of proposals, ranging from ridesharing apps to sustainability-focused social media platforms.

The most innovative ideas consisted of a painting business using mobile technology, a craft beer delivery service, a financial support system for farmers in developing nations and a TRU pedestrian crosswalk. Overall, the judges seemed pleased with the pitches brought forward and provided some constructive criticism for further elaboration of the business plans.

“I’m not speaking totally on behalf of the judges, but I would say we had a consensus that there was a lot of really great ideas here, all kinds of creativity in terms of original thinking,” Martin said. “If there were a consensus about where things could improve, I would say taking your ideas [and] considering more about the practical application and validation of your ideas across the board, that could be strengthened.”

Despite the ICE Club still in its early stages as an organization, the group wants to dedicate their efforts to facilitate networking opportunities for all students in their endeavours. Communications student and ICE Club founding member Alexi Orchard, stresses how the club wants to appeal to students of all disciplines, not just business students.

“We were officially [registered as] a club only about a month ago, so as you can imagine we have been racing to get this event together and to put our mark on the TRU campus,” she said. “We are still in our early stages as a club, but our mission is to cultivate creativity and collaboration of the innovative minds that exist all over TRU’s campus.”

Martin is very appreciative of the support the club has garnered recently and hopes the group continues growing.

“I want to thank the founding committee of the ICE Club; hopefully it’s something that’s going to grow with people like yourselves joining it and running similar sorts of events and making all sorts of cool innovations happen across campus and Kamloops,” he added.

Congratulations to Kenton Sanderson, Miranda Roberge, Liberatha Murebwayire, Harjit Kaur, Chitwan Sekhon and Allan Voykin for their awards.