Opportunity Fest highlights student entrepreneurship, innovation at BeedieMar 19, 2013
The Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University will next week host the third annual Opportunity Fest, a marketplace-style showcase of student creativity aimed at seizing new opportunities and addressing perceived challenges through entrepreneurship and innovation.
Opportunity Fest 2013 will be held from 6 to 9pm on Tuesday, March 26 at the mezzanine of the SFU Surrey campus. The event is open to all, with current and prospective students from all faculties, university personnel and other community members encouraged to come and see what the next generation of entrepreneurs has in store.
Building on the success of last year’s event, around 150 Beedie undergraduate students from the Entrepreneurship and Innovation concentration will present their class-produced projects and ventures through trade-show exhibits. The student ventures build on opportunities in areas such as video-hosting, online Chinese literature and products made from reclaimed wood.
Judges from industry, academia and the wider community will engage with the student teams, evaluate their endeavours and award a number of prizes, including Most Investable, Best Product or Service, Most Impact, and the titles of Mr. and Ms. Opportunity, presented to the most engaging student presenters. This year’s event will also include an Entrepreneur’s Choice award, chosen by the event participants.
Each winning team will receive a $1000 cash prize and be matched to a business mentor that will help them take their idea forward. The prizes will be awarded following a keynote address by Michael Cheng, winner of both SFU and the Surrey Board of Trade’s 2012 Student Entrepreneur of the Year awards.
“Opportunity Fest is like a Capstone experience for these undergraduate students,” says Beedie professor Eric Gedajlovic, founder of Opportunity Fest. “The event is a little bit of Dragon’s Den, and a bit of Apprentice. “In today’s inter-connected world, where things are happening so rapidly and your plans are outdated as soon as they are established, success and growth depends on your ability to continuously identify and pursue opportunities.”
Last year’s Opportunity Fest featured a variety of business ideas, with winning ventures including an affordable hand-held device to measure water chemistry balance in hot tubs; a wristband which measures heart rate and sleeping patterns and utilizes Bluetooth to update an online support and tracking platform; and a sustainable business which turns broken or forgotten umbrellas and rice bags into environmentally-friendly, handmade backpacks.
“At the Beedie School of Business, we have responded to today’s challenging environment by creating a place where ideas are germinated, nurtured, grown and then change people’s lives in real and positive ways,” says Gedajlovic. “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. Opportunity Fest gives the students the opportunity to develop something they will really care about.”
The event underscores The Beedie School of Business’ continued and growing commitment to experiential learning and entrepreneurship.