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The Queen's Entrepreneurs' Competition

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A Socially Responsible Concept Presented by Toilet+, a Team from Bangladesh, Wins the First Place Prize of $15,000 at The 2012 Queen's Entrepreneurs' Competition

The New York Times calls the Queen’s Entrepreneurs’ Competition (QEC) “one of the longest-running and best-known undergraduate business plan competitions in the world.” The competition took place this past weekend, January 19th- 21st, and was organized by an executive of 19 Queen’s University Commerce students. 2012 was a pivotal year for the QEC, as it was the first year the competition was hosted in Toronto.

Toronto, Canada, January 27, 2012 --( Innovation was inherent to all business ideas presented at the annual Queen’s Entrepreneurs’ Competition (QEC) which took place January 19th to 21st in downtown Toronto, Canada. More than 60 business plan submissions entered the preliminary judging process in November, producing 16 finalist teams representing 14 universities at the Final Weekend. The QEC hosted some of the brightest young entrepreneurs from around the world, including teams from Bangladesh and South Africa for the first time in QEC’s 24- year history.

The founder of the QEC, Meredith van Binsbergen, was in attendance at the Final Weekend Gala for the first time since having created the competition. Ms. van Binsbergen noted how the competition had grown since its inception, “I am amazed and delighted that the Queen's Entrepreneurs’ Competition (QEC) has thrived since our inaugural year in 1989 when we were a small, campus- wide initiative. The international reach, high number of participating teams and sophistication of the business ventures put forward reflect that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive among today's University students.” The QEC was organized by an executive team comprised of 19 Queen's Commerce students and made possible by the following sponsors: Queen’s Centre for Business Venturing, Queen’s MBA Class of 1970 Entrepreneurship Fund, CVCA (Canada’s Venture Capital & Private Equity Association), Manulife Bank, LoyaltyOne, Corplex Canada, Clean-Mark Industries, JCM Capital, Inceptive Solutions, Unilever, and Bounce Entertainment.

Toilet + took home the first place award of $15,000, as well as the Grant Bartlett Sustainability Award for $1,000 for their unique operational concept providing the rural poor with a safe, hygienic, longer-lasting and disaster resistant toilet, which promised to be both socially responsible and economically viable. NoteWagon, a peer-to-peer education marketplace for university and college students, received the second place prize of $6,000. The third place prize of $2,000, as well as the Innovation Award for $1,000, went to Electric Courage, a mobile application that provides 18 to 25 year old users a safe and low-risk platform to connect and flirt with others at their location in real-time.

Nir Levy, a member of the Campus Bubble team from Emory University in Atlanta, explained what his team gained though their participation in the competition: “We're all doing this really tremendously difficult task of starting a business and it’s really impossible to do it alone. QEC has played a vital role in helping [us] expand our network and [get] inspired.” Campus Bubble, a company that produces online university portals that bring together student media and business offerings, will continue to receive support in the form of the QEC’s Solutions Award: $10,000 in- kind in small business consulting services from Inceptive Solutions.

The QEC 2012 offered its competitors ample networking opportunities throughout the Final Weekend. Keynote speakers included Chris Hodgson, Head of Industry Retail for Google Canada; John Poulos, President and CEO of Dominion Voting Systems, and Ted Zittell, President at Ted Zittell & Associates. With a judge to competitor ratio of 3:4, representatives in attendance included: John See, President of TD Bank Financial Group Wealth Management; Mark MacTavish, Managing Director of ONCAP; Don Aldridge, IBM Canada; David Kincaid, President and CEO of Level5 Strategic Brand Advisors; Ron Bremner, former President and CEO of the Calgary Flames and current President of Gold Medal Consulting; Bryan Pearson, President and CEO of LoyaltyOne; Glenn Laverty, CEO of Ricoh Canada; and Matthew Corrin, Founder and CEO of Freshii.

Founded in 1988, the Queen’s Entrepreneurs’ Competition is under the management of undergraduate commerce students at Queen’s School of Business in Kingston, Ontario. The QEC is part of the Queen’s Commerce Society, the governing body over the undergraduate commerce population at Queen’s University. As Canada’s largest international undergraduate business plan competition, the QEC seeks to provide student entrepreneurs with the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals and mentors, develop their business ideas, and ultimately make them a reality through competition for cash prizes.

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The Queen's Entrepreneurs' Competition
Charlotte Gadon

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