Sobey School of Business

Student entrepreneurs from across Atlantic Canada at Saint Mary’s for business development conference

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Student entrepreneurs from across Atlantic Canada will be working closely with experienced entrepreneurs to help develop their businesses at the Starting Point Entrepreneurship Conference taking place at Saint Mary’s University.

The conference begins on Tuesday, Feb. 19, and will bring student entrepreneurs from post-secondary institutions and high schools from multiple provinces together to work with entrepreneurs, CEOs and startup experts. The students have the chance to work directly with the entrepreneurs to help brings their business ideas to fruition or grow an existing business. Events include keynote speakers, master classes with successful businesspeople, funder speed dating and the Iron Entrepreneur Tournament.  At the end of the conference, students have a chance to win cash investments for their businesses.

This year’s conference theme is “From Vision to Venture.” The theme is about encouraging and inspiring students to bring their ideas to reality by giving them the confidence and tools to do so. Conference proceedings such as master classes, the iron entrepreneur competition and the keynote speaker will focus on helping students to realize that vision and help them to bring it to fruition through actionable advice and inspiration.

Since it began in 2015, the conference has hosted 590 student entrepreneurs from post-secondary institutions and high schools from across the country and given over $40,000 in funding and prizes. The conference is organized by the Saint Mary’s University Entrepreneurship Centre. Over the past five years, SMUEC programs have provided opportunities to more than 4,500 students, allowing them to be engaged in curricular and extra-curricular activities. 

To learn more about the Starting Point Conference visit www.startingpointconference.com.

Two years in a row of podium finishes for Saint Mary's venture capital students

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For the second year in a row, a team of students from the Sobey School of Business took second place in the Venture Capital Investment Competition (New England region), held in Boston.

In early February, the Saint Mary’s students joined teams from Cornell University, Babson College, New York University, Tufts University and Southern Connecticut State University to show their venture capital expertise.

The way the competition works is that two days before the event, teams receive pitch decks from startup companies. The teams are given 38 hours to learn as much as they can about the presenting startups. Then they arrive at the competition, and it begins with the startup pitches. Teams receive 14 minutes of one-on-one time with each startup. Finally, teams have two hours to make an investment decision and submit their recommendations.

Cornell University, narrowly edged Saint Mary’s to take first place. In addition to finishing second place, Saint Mary’s Venture Grade took home the competition's only Entrepreneurs Choice Award, chosen by the startup entrepreneurs.

“The spread between 1st  and 2nd  place was 1.6%,” said Dr. Ellen Farrell, the faculty coach of the Saint Mary’s University Venture Grade Fund. “In the Boston event, there was an entrepreneur looking for $11,000,000 but who wasn’t committed to exiting so the team didn’t feel he met the fund thesis; and another father/son co-founding group offering a new type of incuabator to 3rd world countries that had yet to commercialize.  In picking Language I/0, SMU met the entrepreneur’s elevated valuation expectations with term sheet provisions.  There was a buzz in the room about the team’s defence when they were done.  Brilliant job.”

Competing in the competition were Kory Henn (Entrepreneurship), Emma Scott (Entrepreneurship), Jake Chambers (Entrepreneurship), Maxim Roy (Accounting) and Tahsin Fatin (Finance).

Congratulations on your great showing!

Saint Mary’s University to participate in Halifax and eBay partnership on retail program

Saint Mary’s University and The David Sobey Centre for Innovation in Retailing and Services are proud to be a part of a new partnership between eBay Canada and the Halifax Regional Municipality. The partnership is for Retail Revival, an eBay program designed to help small and medium-sized retailers harness the power of e-commerce and global trade.

Retail Revival is a free 12-month training, support and educational program that empowers 60 – 70 local small and medium-sized retailers to thrive by leveraging eBay's global marketplace to reach new customers around the world. The program will also include a dedicated customer service support team, digital tools and subscriptions, promotional marketing from eBay, as well as additional education and resources from participating partners focused on small business and exporting.  

The David Sobey Centre for Innovation in Retailing and Services will participate in the eBay Retail Revival program in Halifax as a research partner.  Dr. Ramesh Venkat, Director of the David Sobey Centre, along with Dr. Rahman Khokhar and Dr. Mark Raymond will form a research team to study the performance of the companies participating in the program as well as the overall economic impact on this region.

“This partnership represents a great opportunity for both our region and university,” said Saint Mary’s University president Robert Summerby-Murray. “It is a recognition of the important role that we play as a national leader in business education, entrepreneurship and retail across Canada. We look forward to bringing the expertise of our business faculty and the David Sobey Centre to this partnership.”

This program is a partnership between eBay Canada and the Halifax Regional Municipality. It is supported by the Government of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia. As part of the program, eBay is partnering with Halifax Partnership, Nova Scotia Business Inc., and Saint Mary’s University.

Photo credits: Stoo Metz, Click Productions.