Business student wins $6,000 in business plan competition

Budding entrepreneur Thomas Heine pitched his idea of sustainable and healthy frozen-yogurt

Entrepreneur and business student Thomas Heine, who recently won $6,000 in the Scotiabank Business Plan Competition in March. (SUBMITTED)

Thomas Heine was the winner of the Scotiabank Business Plan Competition, with his creative business model of a sustainable and healthy frozen yogurt shop. Heine will be graduating this June with a major in marketing and a minor in entrepreneurship.

The Omega spoke with this young entrepreneur about his business idea and his future plans.

Heine came up with his business idea while working in Switzerland. Some girls came up to him, asking for frozen yogurt, and he realized that there was nothing there.

“It was a virgin market,” Heine said.

That inspired his business idea of selling frozen yogurt in Switzerland. He found that setting up a business overseas was tougher than expected, so he brought his business model back to Canada.

Heine presented this idea at the Scotiabank Business Plan Competition held on the TRU campus in March and won a sum of $6,000 to pursue his business idea. The competition was judged by a panel of six judges, including business community members and TRU school of business and economics faculty and the dean. After his recent big win, Heine awarded $500 to each of his three friends for helping him work on the business plan.

Kelsey Walder, Keenan Sillence and Jake Trescot helped Heine out with his business plan. Trescot also stood alongside Heine in the competition, as his business partner.

“I couldn’t have done this without them. I am not very strong with finance management and a few other such things,” Heine said. “My friends put in more time and effort than they needed to, to help me.”

Heine plans to save the rest for his business bank account and some to pay off his student loan.

The unique thing about Heine’s business model is that he plans to capture “the health wave” and use “yogurt that is organic, GMO-free, local and healthy toppings such a hemp hearts and chia seeds.”

Heine wants to provide a healthy alternative at festivals with his frozen yogurt food truck. Apart from health, he said he also cares about the environment. He wants to reduce plastic consumption by making use of edible spoons and 100 per cent biodegradable cups. He also plans on supporting ocean clean-up with his profits later in life.

As a kid, Henie realized his inclination towards being an entrepreneur when he started a lawn care business “under the table,” said Heine chuckling. He shared his motivation by saying, “Being my own boss has a big impact on it. I like all aspects of business. I like brainstorming business ideas and planning. Being an entrepreneur, I am able to never get bored and use everything I have learned.”

When asked about his biggest challenge in planning his business model and pitching it, Heine said “focusing on the ‘why’ and the market, and proving it is the toughest. And making sense of all the numbers in the pitch in a logical order.”

He went on to thank TRU for their support and the advice and help that his professors provided him with. Heine imparted some advice to fellow TRU students and commented that more students should take advantage of these learning experiences because they are fun, interesting, and help students stand out.