12 finalists compete for up to $100,000 at RBC Fast Pitch Competition

Student entrepreneurs take the stage on April 15

By Ashley Tymko
From streamlining the agriculture industry to having artisan pizza made in a vending machine, students flex their entrepreneurial muscles to compete for their share in up to $100,000, at the 2016 RBC Fast Pitch Competition hosted by the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
“The largest competition of its kind in Canada, the RBC Fast Pitch Competition sets the Haskayne School of Business apart by providing startup cash, advisory support and mentorship, and has led to the creation of new opportunities for students from all disciplines across our great campus,” says Kim Neutens, director of the Hunter Centre of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
In today’s economic climate, we are teaching our students that innovation is key. The competition involves second-year Haskayne students enrolled in Entrepreneurial Thinking 317, and tasks them with researching and developing a sustainable new venture.
Celebrate and reward budding entrepreneurs
“Thanks to the generous support of the RBC Foundation and our in-kind service providers — McCarthy Tétrault and Market Grade — we have created a unique forum to celebrate and reward our budding entrepreneurs.
“In this course, we inspire and guide them to launch new ventures by teaching them to identify real opportunities for product, process or social change,” continues Neutens.
This intensive, experiential course saw 500 students from the fall and winter semesters collectively put in 1,500 hours of rigorous problem-solving, and were supported by 106 business advisors and presented to 42 judges. One hundred student teams competed to be one of 12 finalists who will pitch their ideas in front of a panel of esteemed judges on April 15.
‘We are treating this like a job’
It has been a full year since Securelet presented their new venture on the RBC Fast Pitch stage and took home first place at the flagship competition. Current team members, Reagan Nagel, Renae McArthur and Cassidee Smith, are working hard to make their new venture a reality.
“We are treating this like a job,” says Smith. “We are moving forward. We brought in an electrical engineer to help create the prototype.”
Securelet is a revolution in campus security that will give students peace of mind in an unpredictable environment. If a student feels threatened on a school campus, the Securelet will have a button that will send your exact location to Campus Security without relying on the use of your phone.
“The Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the sponsors have provided us with invaluable resources, support and connections. Winning has given us the tools to move forward with our idea,” concludes Smith.
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