In its second year at the Innovative Centre for Entrepreneurs (ICE) is the Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The biannual business competition will award $11 000 in total prize money to UVic students and recent graduates (up to three years post-grad) with a great business idea and plan.
The intention of the competition is to help students come forward with their business ventures and learn about the process of attracting investors.
Robin Milne, director of ICE, explained that up to five participants will be selected from applications sent in before Dec. 2, for the final pitch the following Thursday. Finalists are expected to present their refined business plans in front of a panel made up of independent judges from the business community and an audience of ICE members.
In regards to quality, Milne said business plans should be more than just an idea. “[Participants] should be able to present, say, some financial information about where they think the revenue will come from and what they think their costs will be. We want them to be able to describe how they will use the money if it was awarded to them. To answer those questions intelligently, you have to have more than just an idea.”
Those entering are encouraged to take their business plans to ICE for unbiased assistance to help refine their submission and additionally, to register for the presentation workshop on Nov. 28, to focus their pitch.
According to the ICE website, prize money is awarded on the same day a winner is selected. The only exception is for prize money over $3 000. Such awards are paid in increments, with the second transfer pending a mutually agreed milestone.
“The worst that happens is they learn from this and maybe they don’t do great [and don’t get funded by ICE], but by the time they actually go to present in front of real investors, they will be really ready. The format is so similar it gives them a great way to learn how to do that,” said Milne.
The Peter B. Gustavson School of Business initiated ICE in 2012, and ever since, the organization has year-round facilitated budding entrepreneurs to help them achieve their business visions. In addition to this competition, ICE also offers “PitchIt!” and “PlanIt!” business competitions.
The finalists present on Thursday, Dec. 5. The application can be found on the ICE website (iceuvic.ca). The final presentations are not open to the public.