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Young entrepreneurs make their pitch at QEC

[Queen's Entrepreneurs' Competition]
Zoe Keirstead, Com'15, and Jane Mills, Com'15, are the co-chairs for the Queen's Entrepreneurs' Competition, a student-run business plan contest. (University Communications)

Some of the top student entrepreneurs were in Kingston this past weekend to compete for the top prize at the Queen’s Entrepreneurs’ Competition (QEC).

In its 27th year, the undergraduate business plan competition receives submissions from around the world. Judges then select the top 15 teams for the final weekend to compete for $43,000 in prizes.

The student-run event is gaining more attention and competitors each year and it’s not only about the money.

“Our panel of judges is phenomenal,” says Jane Mills, Com’15, one of the QEC’s co-chairs. “The structure of the competition is a 20-minute pitch but then it’s 20 minutes of question and answer and feedback. That 20 minutes is invaluable because we have a diverse panel of judges that have experience in marketing, tech, finance, and that’s when they can provide their expertise. All of these people we have invited back as judges are industry experts as well as entrepreneurs who have been very successful. So that really is the value proposition.”

After making their initial pitches on Friday, the final six were selected by the judges. The final group then presented to a new panel of judges on Saturday, with the top three receiving prizes. The final presentations were open to the public. 

There is a wide array of businesses such as a smartphone app for restaurant-goers with dietary restrictions to a wine company to hemodialysis filters used in the treatment of kidney disease.

While submissions come from around the world, the final 15 are all from North America this year, including a team from Harvard University, another from Cornell University and five from Queen’s: SimplyFeed.me; Qbliss; Mitigating Advertising; Clutch; and Connectivity.

The quality of the competition is heightened each year as well.

“I expect there to be a lot of high-calibre business plans that are coming from people who have really thought through their ideas,” says co-chair Zoe Keirstead, Com’15, before the competition got underway.

The top prize this year was $25,000 thanks to the support of the Queen’s MBA Class of 1970, which has sponsored QEC since it started in 2011. Members also provide mentorship and act as judges.

For more on QEC visit theqec.com.

UPDATE

First place at the Queen's Entrepreneurs' Competition was awarded to the Harvard University team Quorum, which presented an online legislative strategy platform that uses big data to identify potential supporters by
processing and displaying 800 million points of data about the U.S. Congress.

Second place went to Queen's University's The Brockington Group - Mitigating Advertising Abuse and thrid went to Sparkgig from the University of Waterloo.

Other teams to make the Top 6 were: Clutch (Queen's University); GrooveDish (University of Alberta); and Repair Quote (Carleton University).