Opportunity Fest 2013 showcases Beedie undergraduate innovation

Apr 12, 2013

Opp Fest

An innovative process to create pallets from recycled car tires, an online community for people with disabilities, and locally sourced prepackaged meals were just some of the innovative business ventures showcased by Beedie undergraduates at the 2013 Opportunity Fest.

The annual marketplace-style showcase of student creativity was held on March 26 at SFU’s Surrey campus. The event allowed participating students to demonstrate their business creativity by tackling perceived challenges through entrepreneurship and innovation.

For the past few years, guest judges from industry, academia, and the wider community have evaluated the participating teams’ endeavors and awarded prizes to students enrolled in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation concentration. Opportunity Fest 2013 welcomed judges from a wide variety of organizations, including Make, Global Agents for Change, BC Technology Industry Association, the City of Surrey, Central City Brewing, Ayoudo, Vancity, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Indel Therapeutics, and TD Commercial Banking.  

This year’s event also encouraged interdisciplinary collaboration through entrepreneurship, with judges from SFU’s schools of computer science and engineering science, the faculty of environment, and the SFU Innovation Office complementing those from industry.

In addition, SFU’s Student Entrepreneur of the Year Michael Chen, an undergraduate student in SFU’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology, addressed the participants with an inspiring keynote speech.

This year, 37 teams vied to impress the judges in three categories: Best Product, Most Investable, and Most Impact. Winners in each category were awarded $1000 and mentoring from industry experts, and for the first time ever, competing students were also able to vote for their favourite venture in the Entrepreneur’s Choice award.

Enviro-pal, designed by Beedie undergraduates A.J. Ahmad, Evan Li, Tadaaki Sun, and Wesley Li, was voted “Best Product” and “Most Investable”. The judges were impressed by the venture’s concept of utilizing recycled rubber instead of wood in the manufacturing process of pallets, creating a more durable, environmentally friendly product, which would last five times longer than a standard wood pallet.

The “Most Impact” award went to Picasso Foods, which aims to create food products with fresh produce sourced from small local farmers. The brainchild of Kelvin Chen, Conroy Hui, and Michael Jung, the venture creates consumable products from overlooked produce that does not meet the beauty standards of supermarket purchasers, thereby decreasing food waste, and providing more opportunities to local farmers.

Meanwhile EnableLife, an online platform providing education and information exchange for people dealing with various forms of disabilities earned its creators Farhan Patel, Aamir Sheriff, Xinyan Chen, and Samuel Chan the recognition of their peers as they took home the Entrepreneurs Choice award.

The titles of Mr. and Ms. Opportunity, awarded to the most engaging student presenters, were presented to A.J. Ahmad of Enviro-Pal and Lynn Shinto of One Big Family, a home health care service for aging seniors.

“Increasingly, Beedie’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation program is integrating students from across the faculties and Opportunity Fest shows how successful these interdisciplinary teams can be,” said Casey Dorin, Executive Director, undergraduate programs at the Beedie School of Business.

“The students’ ideas and ventures all possessed great potential to represent viable business concepts and the judges were impressed with their ability to find new opportunities to address the issues that mattered to them.”

For more information on Opportunity Fest 213, including an overview of all business ventures on display, visit http://beedie.sfu.ca/oppfest/overview/

To view photos from the event, visit the Beedie School of Business’ Flickr page.

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