McGill Dobson Cup nurtures entrepreneurial ecosystem
To showcase some of the start-ups that have emerged from the annual Dobson Cup competition for budding entrepreneurs – and to highlight the benefits of participating in it – the Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies threw a reception on Oct. 9 at the Faculty Club. Several teams who have been through the competition gave short presentations on where they stand in the process of building their businesses or social enterprises.
Time flies. The McGill Dobson Cup competition for budding entrepreneurs is entering its sixth year.
To showcase some of the start-ups that have emerged from the contest – and to highlight the benefits of participating in it – the Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies threw a reception on Oct. 9 at the Faculty Club. Several teams who have been through the competition gave short presentations on where they stand in the process of building their businesses or social enterprises.
One common theme: the competition’s mentorship program, which matches each team with a business leader, has proved hugely valuable to many participants as they worked to shape their ideas into a viable business strategy.
The competition gives participants the chance to develop their skills and present their business ideas to a panel of seasoned corporate experts while competing to win start-up funds for their enterprise. The judging focuses on the venture’s innovation, viability, and growth potential.
“The Dobson Cup is a way of finding entrepreneurs at McGill,” says Prof. Gregory Vit, Director of the Dobson Centre, which is also responsible for developing core courses in Entrepreneurship at the Desautels Faculty of Management.
The competition also serves to foster connections among innovators across the university’s campuses – cultivating an “entrepreneurial ecosystem” of sorts. Since 2011, the McGill Dobson Cup has attracted over 450 innovators and helped create 28 start-ups (of which over 70% are still active) and 70 new jobs.
The Reporter has assembled a gallery of photos below from the recent Faculty Club event, which brought together many of the start-ups that are up and running. Click on a thumbnail to see the full picture. All photos by Damian Turski.
MUthins co-founders Chelsea Beloff, Ali Beloff, and Jennifer Stein used their 2012 prize money to launch a website for their all-natural, low-calorie line of muffins. / Photo: Damian Turski
Ian Soutar, creator and benefactor for Career Enhancement and Professional Development, for both the Desautels Faculty of Management and the Faculty of Engineering.
Past participants, judges, and aspiring entrepreneurs mingled at the recent Faculty Club event.
Guthrie Stewart, Dobson Fellow and mentor, and Ian Soutar in conversation.
Prof. Gregory Vit, Director of the Dobson Centre, being introduced by Dobson Centre’s Manager of Strategy and Program Development, Patrick Vespa, on left.
Grant Yim (BCom’03) and his Hypejar teammates won the 2013 first prize for their an online consumer-opinion platform, designed to help track demand for products before they hit the market.
Alain Spitzer and Alyshia Wagstaff share the story of Streetsuds, 2011 first-prize winner in the social enterprise category; the contract laundry service operates as a transitional employment program for formerly homeless individuals.
Architecture PhD student Jakub Dzamba’s Third Millennium Farming, third-prize winner in 2012, is developing a kit to enable people to grow food-grade crickets with minimal effort.
Avery Rueb, a 2010 Desautels MBA graduate and CEGEP language teacher, came up with the idea for an interactive second-language learning game, ZuubEmpire.
UNIIV, course-management software for students, attended an accelerator program at MIT last summer; they’re now student representatives at the Dobson Centre and hope to encourage more start-ups at McGill.
Eric Finley, Dobson Centre Analyst, chats with Jan Roos who is the founder of VitalitySciences – dedicated to bringing a higher standard to the world of supplements.
LifePack founders, Charles Vincent and James McGoff, both undergraduate materials engineering students, have developed a light-weight, powerfully insulating, environmentally-friendls shipping container for temperature sensitive materials.