For Goodman School of Business students Celine Nguyen, Sylvie Nguyen and Shubhra Rishi, entrepreneurship was not high on their list of goals until they attended a business startup retreat weekend as part of a class and ended up winning.
UP York Region, the main organizer of the event, says teams are formed around top-voted startup ideas and spend three days creating a business model, coding and designing their product and then presenting it do judges. UP York Region says their goal is to facilitate entrepreneurship for anyone who wants to be a part of it.
“We went [to the even] really wanting to help someone else who was passionate about their idea with their business,” Rishi told The Brock News. The group did not go into the competition with any particular business plan in mind but their group, also including Jelani Thompson and Kwaku Attah, two Seneca College students, took the top prize for their innovative food-finding app.
In order to present their app, the group had to create a prototype. To do so, Celine Nguyen had to call up her graphic design skills, which she had not previously had to use in a professional setting. The app, which sorts restaurant offerings by distance, price range, and ingredients so they can be sorted by dietary restrictions. The group said that they wanted the app to focus on things that are more difficult to find.
The contest weekend was intended to help future entrepreneurs use real world experience and problem solving to improve their skills.
UP York Region said the event allowed participants to be “influenced by the great ideas around [them] and learn what it takes to create a successful business from the ground up.”
For this group, it allowed them to see the benefits of starting their own business and how the process of pitching an idea works.
“I was very closed-minded about entrepreneurship before,” said Sylvie Nguyen. “This weekend was life-changing.
Their project is now in development as part of Brock’s BioLinc, a business incubator at the Goodman School of Business that helps get projects like this one off the ground.