23 dedicated students, multiple whiteboards covered in marker, and 28 grueling hours later… The first cohort of EPICentre’s VentureU Skills Bootcamp is finally complete! This intense 4-day program started on February 21st, 2023, and culminated with a final pitch on Friday, the 24th.
Six multidisciplinary teams of students presented their business solutions in front of a panel of esteemed judges this past Friday after spending four full days creating them from scratch!
After meeting each other for the very first time on Tuesday morning, teams got to work covering the whiteboard with the problems of the world. Some big and some small, some global and some that personally affected those in the room. They then took the completed list of 114 addressable problems and narrowed them down to only 2. The passion for these issues was apparent as voices were raised and points were discussed during the distillation process. In the end, two opportunities emerged: the negative effects of electronic waste on the environment and the lack of access to public services for underserved populations in Canada.
The teams then spent the next four days framing entire business models around their proposed solutions. They learned design thinking, problem-centric ideation, problem-solution fit, and customer discovery, and that was just in the first 10 hours! Students also learned how to get out of the office and seek feedback on their ideas through an online feedback “speed-dating” event where they pitched their ideas to different entrepreneurs and experts every 12 minutes for almost two hours. That sounds pretty tough, but if you ask them, they would do it all again.
On the final day, the teams polished their business models, practiced their new-found pitching skills with fun exercises, and then it was time for the big stage. Teams presented their solutions and completed business models and branding to the three judges: Dianne Kellett, Area manager for Ford Canada; AJ Khan, CEO of Cyberstrategiez Inc. Group; and Barry Leavitt, Director of Corp Operations and Innovation for Enwin.
The judges had no easy task, but the top two teams were awarded an additional $500 prize in the end.
Congratulations to the top two teams!
- ElectriGo – Joseph Fawzy, Teagan Grinwis, Richard Nonso, and Tarunkumar Trilokchandra Gupta
- Personal Support Plus – Varun Charavanan, Nourin Ahmed, Eldridge Venantius Fernandes, and Madiha Shaikh
The other four teams were:
- downtech – Moshood Saka, Udit Jindal, and Kishok Rai David Raj
- SkillScout – Akilan Thamizharasan, Irene Ann Patric, Suparno Bhatta, and Varsha Sri Selvakumar
- R3-incarnation – Arun Kuppusamy Vijayalakshmi Jaganathan, Jaz Morneau, Abhishek Patel Mullur Chandrashekar, and Adam Ali
- Money Dojo – Raj Kumar Chellappan, and Waseem zahir Ameenudin
Thanks to the judges for bringing their expertise, the EPICentre Team for all their hard work behind the scenes, the John Dobson Foundation for their funding support, and an extra-special congratulations and thanks to all 23 students that gave it their all.
This will be a week to remember!
If you’re like these brave students and like the challenge of real-world problem-solving and working with like-minded people, check out our other EPICentre programs and services!