Four fledgling local St. John’s businesses faced a Memorial University dragon’s den Tuesday night. There was no Kevin O’Leary — the acerbic judge from the CBC’s “Dragons Den,” which features entrepreneurs hoping to pry investment funds out of business titans — for the student businesspeople, but there was $2,500 up for grabs in the Innovation Challenge.
Also at stake was space for a year at the Launch Pad centre, a student “entrepreneurial incubation centre” at MUN. Kaitlin Smith, Launch Pad’s co-ordinator this semester, said the competition was the toughest it’s been in its fourth year of competition.
“It was great. It was much more competitive than it’s ever been,” she said after the competition. “We’re filling up our space, which is awesome, so hopefully we’ll have some really successful businesses now over the next year.”
Businesses pitched themselves to a panel of judges made up of business instructors and representatives, and then faced questions on their strategies and research from the judges.
Rock Solid Design, a web design and marketing company, took the prize this year, beating Brick-Oven Pizzeria, a restaurant proposal; Levolve Industries, a company hoping to sell safety panels to trucking companies; and Imaj Marketing, a marketing and advertising company for small- to medium-sized businesses.