On November 24, 2012, the 5th Annual SFU Entrepreneur of the Year Competition and Awards Ceremony brought together close to 200 students, faculty members, alumni, local entrepreneurs, and business professionals at the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel.
Applications for the competition opened at the end of September 2012, and we received a record number of applications: 31 student entrepreneurs across a range of disciplines, such as Computing Science, Interactive Arts and Technology, Business, and Health Sciences, applied to participate in the competition.
When event day arrived, the top nine semi-finalists competed in an opening round to narrow the field to four. After this, attendees began to arrive and had the opportunity to watch the top four businesses present a 10-minute Dragon’s Den style pitch, as well as a 10-minute Q&A session with a panel of highly successful local entrepreneurs, including Mike Volker (WUTIF), Janice Abbott (Atira), Judy Brooks (Blo Blow Dry Bar), Pavel Bains (Storypanda), and Emad Yacoub (Glowbal Restaurant Group).
Photo credit: Steven Han
After the final round of the competition, attendees were invited to the Awards Ceremony, where individuals were encouraged to mingle and network over appetizers and drinks. Instead of having a keynote speaker for the evening, a panel discussion was held featuring three finalist judges who shared their insights and advice on their entrepreneurial endeavours. Mike Volker, Judy Brooks and Pavel Bains had really unique insights to share with the crowd, and they were very eager to answer questions from the audience on top of questions from MC Brian Yan Muk. For 45-minutes, the audience learned about the stories behind their success and inspired the crowd to pursue entrepreneurship.
At the end of the Awards Ceremony, the winner, runner-up and people’s choice winner were finally announced. The SEY 2012 runner-up was Cliff Mander, founder of the sport consulting business CKM Sports Management. He received $1500 in funding from SFU Beedie, office space from The Network Hub, 3 hours of mentorship and in-kind gifts. Finally, the winner was announced: Michael Cheng, co-founder of the digital agency WittyCookie, won the 2012 SFU Entrepreneur of the Year title, as well as the People’s Choice Award. Michael received $4,000 in funding from SFU Beedie, office space from Launch Academy and an opportunity to compete in their Demo-Day, 6 hours of mentorship, and in-kind gifts.
Congratulations to Michael and Cliff, as well as the other competitors, for all of the hard-work and determination you have shown this year. We would also like to thank all of the judges, attendees and sponsors for your support of this year’s event. To find out more about SEY, check out their website. We hope to see you next year for SFU Entrepreneur of the Year 2013!