EPIC Innovation recently held an EPIC Mentoring Event for Dr. Tepe’s Electrical Engineering course and Dr. Schlosser’s Lean Startup course. On January 29th, over 60 student entrepreneurs in 28 groups gathered to receive feedback from experienced mentors in various areas such as marketing, finance, accounting, intellectual property and strategy on how to move their business forward. All students attending the event enjoyed a breakfast and ample amount of time to meet with business professionals. The students attending the event varied with business, music, engineering and computer science students attending. The purpose of the event was to provide students with business advice during the very early stages of their start-up idea and to consider questions such as “What is the value proposition?”, “Who is the market segment?” and “How will you test whether this product solution is a good fit for market needs?”.
The Entrepreneurship Practice and Innovation Centre (EPICentre) at the University of Windsor is a campus-wide initiative created to encourage entrepreneurship on campus, and to support students and graduates interested in launching their own businesses. EPICentre hosts more than 60 programs and activities each year, including three incubators on campus and these types of mentoring events are set up to encourage and promote entrepreneurship on campus and to provide resources for students and graduates who are considering starting up their own business.
Nine different mentors from around the community gathered together to help provide some insight to these students. Among those who volunteered their time were: Gerry Simpson (Entrepreneur-In-Residence, EPICentre), Roger Bryan (Odette/KPMG), Marco Fiori (WETech), Dave Kirby (EPICentre), Mike Polychuk (EPICentre), Irek Kusmierczyk (WETech), Taylor Laporte (EPICentre), Dr. Tepe (UWindsor) and Francine Schlosser (UWindsor). Teams of students were split up into 3 teams per mentor to pitch their idea to community leaders and their classmates in order to gain valuable insight and advice from both groups. Thirty minute rounds were offered where students were randomly paired with their fellow classmates and a mentor from the community. The Windsor Star and CTV News also attended the event (http://windsorstar.com/storyline/students-pitch-business-ideas-at-university-of-windsor). The EPICentre is planning on hosting many more similar events in the future and welcomes students and graduates who are seeking business advice and resources.