Contest helps market ideas

Mar 21, 2002, vol. 23, no. 6
By Diane Luckow

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Interested in learning how to get your technology business idea to market?

SFU business assistant professor Elicia Maine is providing the answers to this dilemma in her role as the education coordinator for the TELUS
New Ventures British Columbia competition.

Initiated by SFU business, it is one of North America's largest technology business plan competitions, offering $120,000 in cash and prizes. Its purpose is to encourage anyone in the province who has a technology idea, prototype or service to learn how to finance and commercialize it and, ultimately, strengthen the province's emerging high-tech sector.

Winner of last year's inaugural competition was Air Games Wireless, Inc., a wireless games company formed by three SFU engineering science students.

Maine, an expert in the management of technological innovation and advanced materials, is currently also involved in a research team with colleagues at Cambridge University and MIT. They're investigating the barriers to innovation in new technology firms.

Maine says an integral component of the TELUS competition is its education seminars designed to inform competitors about marketing, financial statements, intellectual property, legal issues, access to seed capital and venture capital and building a management team.

“We draw speakers from the local community and from SFU and UBC,” explains Maine. “We try to give competitors a mix of theory and practice, with an emphasis on stories from entrepreneurs who've been there.”

A feature of this year's competition is a two-day seminar during round three which will focus on financial statements. “We're responding to the results of last year's competition,” says Maine. “We found that people didn't have a lot of comfort in projecting their profit/loss statements and they didn't have a good rationale for how much money they needed.”

Deadline for applications is April 15.For more information visit the web site.

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