A goal without a plan is just a wish.
A goal with plans, wishes, hours of hard work, and that brought to fruition under the power of mentorship is a recipe for success. This is the premise behind the Blueprint project. Think “Dragons Den” but at Isaac’s bar and Grill and with ambitious, talented and hard working Brock University students who just happen to find time between regular schooling and entrepreneurship.
On March 5 2014, four student ventures (Medland Research, Food in a Box, Niagara Screening and Golden Rose Enterprises) will pitch their ideas to six judges in the hopes of winning over both a panel and audience vote.
The Blueprint is driven by Career Services, but is partnered with several departments of Brock and the Niagara community at large such as BUSU, Biolink, Office of research services innovation and commercialization and the Goodman School of Business. As a result of all of contributions from various fields, Blueprint is more than a business competition. The program strives to give once-in-a-life-time, (that is especially once in an undergraduate degree,) opportunities such as mentorship connections, business advice and funding for their programs.
Jackie Crawford, Mentorship Plus Coordinator, said that this competition is perfect for young professionals, but especially those at Brock. “Many of our students have great ideas but they may not be aware of the resources to implement those ideas. The Blueprint can give opportunities to students- it really is taking a huge leap to the making of a project come to life”.
An expert is just an amateur who didn’t give up.
Each of the four competitors have gone through several application stages, and have so far received many benefits of Blueprint already, such as entrepreneurship seminars and specific training modules to prepare for the presentation. The judges that make up the Blueprint Advisory Panel are all several experienced community entrepreneurs and business development experts, all of whom were once budding novices at some point in their lives. The panel is made up of Don Cyr, Dean of Goodman School of Business; Sam Baio, Founder of West49 retail store; Angelo Nitsopoulos, COO Heart of Niagara Hotels; Larry Maxwell, Investment Advisor for TD Canada Trust; Nick DePietro, President of Natacor and Shannon Passero, Founder of Pure and Co.
The “pitchers” are competing for start-up money, mentoring and resources. The judges will decide the distribution of their start-up money on the day – which could amount to upwards of $10,000. For the first time since the program inception three years ago, an already exciting competition gets an new twist; a “Badger Choice award” will allow for more audience interaction in determining the winner. Anyone who comes out to watch the platforms will be able to cast a vote on who they think should take home the grand prize. The prize award for the Badger’s Choice is $500.
“If the team who wins the Badgers Choice also wins the grand prize, that just means they did an outstanding job,” noted Crawford.
Sometimes, it’s not about winning: it’s about putting yourself out there.
Crawford explained that through Career Services, the Blueprint is able to give students to the line experience with diverse and successful professionals who act as mentors. “The training we give to our competitions is really top of the line education. We like to think of it as payment in kind and hope to see the results of the trainings in these students as their projects develop.”
The Blueprint pitch event will be happening Wednesday, March 5, 2014 from 12:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. in Isaac’s Bar and Grill on campus. For more information visit: brocku.ca/blueprint