Opportunity Fest showcases BBA new ventures

Apr 04, 2012

An upcoming event at Simon Fraser University Surrey and hosted by the Beedie School of Business will enable entrepreneurially-minded students to present their venture ideas to industry experts.

The second annual Opportunity Fest will be held on Wednesday April 11 from 6pm to 9pm in the Mezzanine of SFU’s Surrey Campus. Building on the success of last year’s event, over 100 students from seven different Beedie School of Business classes will participate in the marketplace-style exhibition, with three venture categories of commercial, sustainable and social ventures.

Students will present their class-produced ventures through trade-show exhibits that include product prototypes, videos, graphical display boards and more. Judges from industry, academia and the wider business community will evaluate the student ventures and express their financial interest or commitment through investment of emulated venture capital dollars.

Last year’s competition was won by Aspire, a venture which aims to provide meaningful employment opportunities for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  Developed by Beedie undergraduate students Alice Chen, Matt Armstrong, Joanne Chen, Robbie Hsieh and Justin Findley, Aspire leverages the characteristics of autism as a competitive advantage in the software testing industry, creating a sustainable and nurturing work environment for ASD sufferers.

Second place at last year’s competition went to Ratemylot.com, a website which assists motorists in finding safe, convenient and clean parking lots through analysis of various relevant statistics. The third placed venture was Bloggle, a product which combines traditional ski goggles and a bluetooth headset to allow wearers to make phone calls and listen to music while skiing or snowboarding.

“Opportunity Fest is like a Capstone experience for these undergraduate students,” says Eric Gedajlovic, Professor at the Beedie School of Business. “In today’s inter-connected world, where things are happening so rapidly and your plans are outdated as soon as they are established, success and growth depends on your ability to continuously identify and pursue opportunities.”

This year, $1000 will be awarded to the top teams in each venture category, while the male and female student presenting the best pitch to the judges will also be awarded with the title of Mr or Ms Opportunity and will receive a networking lunch with the industry judges.

“This event is a little bit of Dragon’s Den, and a bit of Apprentice,” says Gedajlovic. “The teams take this opportunity to develop a full-blown project. These are ideas and new ventures that come from dissatisfaction with the way things are done currently and have potential to represent viable business concepts. The opportunities that people discover are typically derived from their own background or experiences or network. Opportunity Fest gives them the opportunity to develop something they will really care about.”

For more information:
Eric Gedajlovic, SFU Beedie School of Business
erg@sfu.ca; 778-782-5168

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