SFU Beedie Executive MBA alumni win SFU’s largest entrepreneurship competition

Apr 22, 2021

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From left, Labora founders Jaspal Brar, Rene Blanco and Ryan Klatt. Labora’s AgTech platform provides a secure payroll service that enables seasonal agricultural workers to transfer money home. (Photo taken pre-COVID-19)

Labora Consulting Services Corp. has won the top prize in SFU’s 10th annual Coast Capital Savings Venture Prize competition, taking home a $35,000-prize package. Labora’s AgTech platform provides a simple and secure digital payroll service to farmers enabling their seasonal agricultural workers to transfer remittances back home.

The founders, Rene Blanco, Jaspal Brar and Ryan Klatt developed the idea for Labora while completing the Executive MBA program at SFU Beedie. In 2019, Labora won the Top Idea Prize at the Venture Prize competition and then joined SFU’s incubator program to benefit from its mentorship and startup resources. In 2021, the team competed in two rounds of pitch-offs to win the Top Venture Prize.

Company co-founder Rene Blanco says, “Along the journey, the Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection team and mentors helped us to mature our idea and implement the steps to become a solid company. Being incubated by Venture Connection allowed us to focus on initial metrics, pilots and customer acquisition. We plan to invest the $10 000 cash prize in software development.”

Several other SFU Beedie students and alumni were among the full list of winners announced at the 2021 Venture Prize: Executive MBA alumnus and founder of kids’ plant-based food brand Elemeno, Ryan McKee was honoured with an SFU Alumni Founder Award; the Female Founder Award and Research & Development Category Prize were won by current Invention to Innovation program student Mirjam Mai and her company Fibrilex Canada; the Local Impact Category Prize winner Bak’d Cookies was co-founded by an alumnus of the BBA program; and the winners of the Social Impact award and SFU Alumni Founder Awards, the four founders of Moment Energy, are mechatronics alumni who went through the interdisciplinary Technology Entrepreneurship@SFU program and received eCoop awards from the Chang Institute.

Read more at SFU News.