Young entrepreneurs face off at Laurier
On Friday evening, the Laurier Innovation and Technology Club (LiTC), and SIFE Laurier teamed up with the Schlegel Centre of Entrepreneurship to host the fifth annual Laurier Entrepreneurship Competition.
With over 20 applications to select from, a group of internal judges from WLU narrowed down the competition to five finalists in February. Those five contestants presented their ideas on March 2 to a panel of successful entrepreneurs, including Jeremy O’Krafka, Marc de Grave, Ted Hastings and Colleen Moorehead.
Moorehead was the featured keynote speaker prior to the presentations and when asked why she decided to be involved in this competition, she simply said, “I want to see Wilfrid Laurier excel in entrepreneurship and in business afterwards, I want to create more successful entrepreneurs coming out of Wilfrid Laurier.”
Moorehead is a Laurier alumna and has over 26 years of experience in corporate management and the investment industry. She had some advice for any budding entrepreneurs hoping to get started in the business.
“Stay true to your goal and don’t give up and be absolutely tenacious,” said Moorehead.
And that is exactly what Jordan Hyde, the leader and innovator of Paydaytoday.com, did.
Hyde won first place in the competition on Friday, along with $10,000 to help fund his company. He was visibly ecstatic that his hard work, determination and dedication had paid off.
“It feels unbelievable,” Hyde said. “I’m so happy and I really hope I can represent Laurier well in the Nicol competition in Ottawa. I’ve been working for a year on this, just so many hours and so much market research and I’m really, really happy that I got to share it with people who are other enthusiastic entrepreneurs and judges.”
Hyde’s business is essentially a payday loan company that operates online, giving customers, who find themselves in need of money before their payday or other source of income has arrived, the ability to apply for a payday loan and — if their application is successful — then the funds are directly deposited into their bank account.
As soon as their next payday comes, the money is immediately debited from their account and returned to the company.
Michael Gagliano, co-president and co-founder of LiTC, hoped that the event would help encourage young entrepreneurs in all programs at Laurier to present their ideas and kick start their business.
“This event, which is put on by a big group of volunteers, is really to give those student entrepreneurs a chance to showcase their ventures to the university, to the community, to the country and really help get them some funding to get things going,” explained Gagliano.
The event was sponsored by numerous groups, with $18,000 awarded in prizes overall for the top three competitors.
Hyde will go on to represent Laurier in the Nicol Competition in Ottawa in late March.
Concussion Toolbox was awarded second place and Waterloo Banking Project took third.