Combining all of their learnings from the past two years, Selkirk College business students turned theory into reality in the first in-person business plan competition in three years.

From antique refurbishments to e-bike services, the variety of student-created business ideas spurred a buzz of energy in the Castlegar campus pit in late March.

Unlike other trade show competitions held over the past three years, the Spring 2022 event was open to students, staff and the community. Students introduced to local industry stakeholders and representatives of area organizations.

The judges present were Paul Kelly (Community Development), Gail Shaw (CIBC), Diane Sirois (Kootenay Savings) and Tammy Verigin-Burk (Castlegar Chamber of Commerce).

“I wasn’t sure what to expect,” said first judge Paul Kelly. “As a judge, it was difficult to evaluate a business concept in a short period of time. I was impressed with the amount of work that went into presenting each student and it was good to see the breadth of different types of business models,” Kelly continued. “It’s always great for students to go through the business viability assessment process. Whether students end up running their own business or working for someone else, the skills learned in this process really come in handy once in the job market. »

The Business Administration degree program works to create a cohesive network between Selkirk College, students, and local businesses and organizations. “The Business program does a real service for local employers; many employers hire students out of the program because they know the students understand what a company needs,” Kelly said.

Hosted by Entrepreneurship Course Instructor Cibylla Rakestraw, the Business Plan Tradeshow competition functions as a foundational end-of-year project for business students. The 2022 contest winners are Mariana Martin and Christine Joy Esplana of Kootenay Little Smiles, a Kootenay-based pediatric dental clinic. Connor Amonson and Kaleb Comishin won second place with their business concept Slickbooks, an accounting service. Finally, an honorable mention was awarded to Asmita Joge and Ankita Nair for their business model, a specialty store titled Everything Asiatic.

“Before the contest, I felt nervous presenting to a variety of judges. I wasn’t sure if I could express myself properly because English is my second language,” said first-place winner Mariana. “The experience allowed me to turn theory into practice in a simulated environment that anyone in business could encounter in the real world.”

Jessica Crookbain, a contestant who graduated from the program in April, enrolled at Selkirk College to re-educate and enter a different industry. First educated as a registered nurse, Jessica realized she wanted a change. After two studious years in the business program, Jessica reflected on how the business plan competition capped off her experience at Selkirk.

“The process of creating a business plan was such an effective way to combine what we learned in our entrepreneurship class with the knowledge gained in other classes over the past two years. The process was thorough and was a lot of work, but we had great support from our instructor.”

A few days later, an online version of the contest was held for students in the Graduate Diploma in Business Management program. This rendition of the competition mirrored the in-person version on Zoom and was also judged by local community stakeholders. The online contest winners were Kaila Kaufmann with Ponderosa Hot Yoga and Alexandria Beaton in second place with Pawsome Organic Petfoods. Honorable mentions went to Gauri Kataria and Simranjot Kaur with Cookie Kingdom and Kathleen Bautista with Castlegar Sports Equipment.

Whether students are in the classroom or making business cases to real-world stakeholders, Selkirk College Business School students continue to cultivate the skills and experience needed in the job market and/or in the workplace. future education. For more information on Selkirk College’s business programs, please visit


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