Hearts are pounding. The stage is set. There’s only five minutes to make the case.
The Humber LaunchPad, an annual Dragon’s Den-style competition where student entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas, announced the winners of a collective $40,000 prize in a competition that concluded March 21 on North campus.
Humber student and alumni entrepreneurs took to the stage in front of a panel of judges and had just five minutes to convince them that their business was deserving of funding.
Madeline Pishori, a second year Fashion Arts student, won the grand prize of $12,000 with her product, Intake.
Intake is a personal assistant brand multi-meal intake plan.
“Essentially, it’s a start-up kit that contains all the necessary dry ingredients, guidance and recipes, including breakfast, lunch and dinner to have a nutritional day. It’s a perfect first step to eating healthy,” said Pishori.
Pishori said her success in the LaunchPad was thanks to diligent preparation and the marketability of her product.
“There’s a strong market for healthy eating lifestyles, and they saw my enthusiasm, so I think that’s why they really liked it,” said Pishori.
Second place winners Savio Wong, Rostyslav Rulov and Hossein Gahamsar, all third year Business Marketing students, won $10,000 for their business Rent4Students.
The website, and soon to be app, is a database for Humber College students to search for reliable off-campus residence.
As international students themselves, Wong and his partners found it difficult to find reliable living accommodations.
Hossein was living in a place infested with cockroaches and couldn’t get a refund on his rent from the landlord. Ross was spending $300 on services to find apartments. It was situations like this that inspired Rent4students, said Wong.
With the app, renters who want to list an apartment or room on the app will be verified through us. We go to the apartments, take photos of the living situation, as well as the area,” said Wong.
Students who use the app will not only find much more trustworthy rental listings, but can limit searches to preferences like what kind of dining options are available in the area.
The business is expected to launch by September.
“It let us create something by students, for students,” said Wong.
Strong ideas, like Intake and Rent4Students, are often unable to come to fruition because of lack of funding.
It’s one of the biggest obstacles entrepreneurs face, said Cheryl Mitchell, Humber Launch’s program manager.
“Funding is a huge problem, especially for young entrepreneurs.”
Hence, the Humber LaunchPad, giving students the opportunity to get funding to develop their business ideas.
“The most successful projects have a certain passion and drive,” said Mitchell. “Of course, there needs to be the quality of pitch, feasibility of the project and a justifiable budget, but it’s the passion for the project that really stands out.”