In an effort to support the improvement of entrepreneurial skills among students, the Brock Venture Fund (BVF) is hosting a Pitch Day for Brock-based entrepreneurs.
These select entrepreneurs will be competing against each other to receive an investment in the form of non-dilutive grant financing. The event, which is to be held on Jan. 29, is designed to mimic what they will face when raising capital in the real world and will see students pitching their business models to a venture capital investment committee made up of partners/associates of the group and analysts.
Pitch Day is formatted like the reality television series Dragons’ Den, which sees aspiring entrepreneurs make business presentations to a panel of five investors — the titular dragons — who then choose whether or not to invest. On the BVF Pitch Day, entrepreneurs will give a 10-minute pitch presentation to the investment committee after which they will have 10 minutes of follow-up and feedback from the committee. Winners will then be announced to the public a few weeks after the event takes place.
The BVF was created in partnership with The Goodman School of Business BioLinc this year and has two strategic goals: to build upon the support for start-ups already built by BioLinc and to educate students on how to raise and invest capital in private markets, focusing on both investment and fundraising. The executive team for the fund is currently made up of Jake Berec, the managing director for the Brock Finance and Investment Group (BFIG); Bryan Haakman, the current president of BFIG and BioLinc members Dan Lynch and Cassie Price.
BFIG is not only for those students who consider themselves entrepreneurs, but also for students expanding their interests.
“I was inspired to join as I felt it was, and still is, an amazing opportunity for students to learn about finance and explore different career opportunities. I joined BFIG in 2014 and served as an analyst, vice president and chief analyst over the course of three years. I now hold the position of managing director, which I started in 2018,” said Berec. “The Brock Venture Fund was founded to encourage and support entrepreneurs at Brock and the people who want to learn how to invest in them. I’d encourage anyone interested to get involved in entrepreneurship and take as much risk as they possibly can while still safely at school.”
Currently, only students who have worked with BioLinc in the past can participate in the upcoming Pitch Day. Berec, however, indicated that it’s the intent of the executives of BFIG that as the initiative gathers more funding, access to the Pitch Day and potential grant will be opened up to the entire student body.
“We are planning for this to eventually become an annual event with portfolio companies giving year-round support,” said Berec, “Successful companies will get a sum of money which they can use to drive their business forward. Investments will range from $500 to $2000 dollars depending on company need and our valuation criteria.”
Another notable pitch competition at Brock is Monster Pitch, which is open to all Brock students. It allows motivated students to pitch their business ideas to a panel of celebrity judges. Finalists are given the opportunity to network with industry professionals and the winner is awarded a cash prize and in-kind support services to help them kick-start their business venture.
The Brock Finance and Investment Group meets every Monday at 6:00 p.m. in Academic South, room 217 and interested students are encouraged to stop by. These meetings cover a wide variety of topics from domestic markets to the world’s economy.
More information about the BFIG and potential involvement opportunities can be found on their website: goodmanbfig.com.