Red Deer College is celebrating the winners of its recent Breakthrough Your Business event, a Dragons Den-style competition that allowed aspiring entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges.
The judges were made-up of local business leaders who were tasked with selecting the winners.
Entry was open to locals from the community and RDC alumni, and winners were awarded $6,000 to help them start their small business. Second place received $4,000.
Mike Bolton won first prize for his business, Red Deer Rookies which is a non-contact, competitive shinny league he began in 2015. Since starting Red Deer Rookies, Bolton has seen a strong interest from participants, with more than 150 players ranging in age from 18 to 60-years-old participating. Bolton is now looking to expand his market to other cities, which was the focus of his pitch.
Second place went to Beth Anne Pedersen for her business Beth Anne Couture, a high-end brand of couture gowns that she designs and creates in central Alberta.
Pedersen’s goal is to continue building her brand by expanding her line of gowns and hiring qualified staff who specialize in couture sewing. Her pitch at Breakthrough Your Business detailed this plan, as well as her goal to create a diverse product line that includes plus size gowns – an area she says is currently under-represented in the fashion industry.
Each of the contestants were also offered the opportunity to work with students from the Donald School of Business for guidance and mentorship around their presentation and help ensuring that key elements of a successful pitch were included.
“Breakthrough your Business is a terrific example of how the Donald School of Business and RDC are working to bring industry, alumni and students together to build win-win solutions,” says Darcy Mykytyshyn, Dean of the Donald School of Business.
“Practical and applied experiences are a pivotal component of our business model, and these partnerships ensure that our transition to a university and the development of our own degrees will be aligned with the needs of central Alberta long into the future.”
In addition, the Donald School of Business has offered all of the contestants from the event the opportunity to connect with the school if they have specific business projects they would like to pursue. Through these types of potential collaborations, the contestants would gain valuable outside perspective and support for their projects, and RDC’s students would also gain practical, applied experience related to their courses.
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