November 17th may have been an ordinary day for most of us, but it was a big day for three aspiring SFU entrepreneurs; SFU Entrepreneur of the Year held its first annual Jumpstart Demo Day. Jumpstart is an 8-week program that aims to help aspiring entrepreneurs turn their ideas into reality. This year, three aspiring entrepreneurs made the commitment and were rewarded with the opportunity to expand their networks, as well as gain valuable knowledge from industry professionals to propel their business ideas forward.
The three participants got a chance to pitch their respective businesses to five industry professionals: Stewart Marshall – Mentor in Residence with SFU Venture Connection; John Neate – Owner and CEO of JJ Bean; David Robertson – Chef-Owner of The Dirty Apron Cooking School; Andrea Scott – Co-Owner of Skoah; and Mary Connolly – Principal of Business Elements Consulting. The three participants, anxious and ready to present their ideas to these notable judges, were Ouldooz Karimi, Japreet Lehal and Galina Udovichenko. Presenters were given a 5 minute set-up period, 8 minute presentation, and 12-minute question and answer period with the judges.
As the room filled up with people, and the judges took their seats, the presentations started with Japreet Lehal, who presented his business GoResearch. GoResearch is a global online platform used to connect students and researchers, providing an easier way to discover research opportunities and student talent. Next up, Galina Udovichenko presented her business idea, Fanat. Fanat is an interactive online platform for movie fans to connect over shared interests. Last but not least, Ouldooz Karimi took the stage and presented her business Wifier. Wifier is a technology that pools commercial and residential Wifi to create one large, shared broadband network that is accessible by mobile devices.
With the end of the presentations, the judges left the room to deliberate while the audience discussed the achievements of the three aspiring entrepreneurs, whose inspiring ideas and perseverance is commendable. Prior to the announcement of the winner, the judges participated in an engaging panel discussion. One of the key questions asked of the judges was the three words they would use to describe entrepreneurship. Although each industry professional had their own interpretation of what entrepreneurship meant to them, the two most prominent words that were used were passion and perseverance.
After the amazing insight from the judges, the announcement of the winner took place. Chantelle Buffie, Program Manager of SEY 2012, proudly announced the winner of the first annual Jumpstart Demo Day: Ouldooz Karimi and her business Wifier! The entire room congratulated all three aspiring entrepreneurs for the passion and perseverance they had shown throughout the program. With the end of Jumpstart, the attention now shifts to tomorrow’s 5th Annual SFU Entrepreneur of the Year event. Tickets are still available for this amazing event, definitely look into attending if you’re free this Saturday.