Management students capture sixth-annual Entrepreneur Boot Camp
Bachelor of Management students added an entrepreneurial twist to the water-loving lifestyle of the Okanagan during this year’s Entrepreneur Boot Camp at UBC’s Okanagan campus.
Makenzie Hartman, Annika Nilsson, Adam Panjwani, and Alexandra Roussel pitched their original idea called Boat Launch to capture first place in the annual competition. “Many boat owners see significant depreciation on their boats with little use, and we want to help mitigate this issue,” explains Panjwani.
In its sixth year, Entrepreneur Boot Camp gives students across disciplines at UBC’s Okanagan campus the opportunity to pitch real ideas and inventions to industry professionals.
“Each year, the work of the students and the quality of their presentations increases, and this year was no exception,” says Barb Marcolin, Faculty of Management Associate Professor and founder of the Entrepreneur Boot Camp. “This is the most realistic learning experience I can give students, short of sending them out into the real world.”
Each team identifies a unique problem and then provides a solution – which is developed during workshops. Students receive feedback from judges every step of the way, and prizes are designed to support students in developing their ideas into functioning prototypes.
The judges deliberated between 13 different pitches, ultimately choosing Boat Launch for first-place.
“It’s difficult to compare and differentiate between the value of each pitch,” explains Marcolin. “But the winning idea was viable, convincing, and well-presented.”
The team of four began developing the idea in Marcolin’s Strategies in Entrepreneurial Technology course, which examines startups, entrepreneurial behaviours in all sizes of organizations and new business models. Course material coupled with professional involvement during the competition gave students the coaching needed to refine their idea and successfully sell the pitch to the panel of judges during a five-minute presentation.
“The judges reinforced that this was going to be difficult, but we appreciated that they were realistic,” says Nilsson. “It’s a high-risk, high-reward situation.”
Taking a risk certainly paid off for the team, as first place came with a $1,000 award from Sab Ravalli at Axium Capital Corp. and three months’ worth of space at Okanagan co+Lab, a collaborative working space for startup founders and independent professionals.
“We’re planning on spending the next few months building a prototype and then actually implementing it,” explains Roussel. “Sharing the facility at co+Lab and being surrounded by the people who work there is going to be really helpful.”
In second place, fourth-year Management student Janice Ip was awarded $500 from Accelerate Okanagan for her pitch, Clozy.
“I wanted to embrace the technology that we have, and create something even better with it,” explains Ip. “Clozy would re-shape the process of online shopping, while remaining simple and user-friendly.”
Entrepreneur Boot Camp is a cross-disciplinary initiative supported by the Faculty of Management and School of Engineering, which exposes students to industry experts with local and global reach in pursuit of innovation and interdisciplinary programming.
Among the panel of judges for Entrepreneur Boot Camp were Richard Takai (Ronin HR Inc.), Shane Austin (Okanagan co+Lab), Barb Marcolin (UBC’s Faculty of Management), Camille Sorbian Saltman (Innovation Hub at UBC’s Okanagan campus), Darrell Bachmann (kickspike.com), Sab Ravalli (Axium Capital Corp.), Jay Bell (trellis.org), Davis Yates (past winner), and Cailan Libby (past winner).