This fall, Western entrepreneurs took to the airwaves showcasing the products and services they have built through courses and programs offered at the Ivey Business School and Western University.
Many of them utilized courses like New Venture Creation or the New Venture Project to flesh out their ideas but were also supported by extra-curricular opportunities open to students and alumni across campus, like business plan competitions, accelerator programs, and investor events like Western Angels’ Demo Day, all acting as stepping stones along their journey as entrepreneurs.
“We’ve always had great academic programs and courses for students – courses that we’ve developed over the last twenty years. But over the past four years, we have been very intentional in creating pathways to support our students and alums continue their entrepreneurial journey outside the classroom,” said Eric Morse, Morrissette Chair in Entrepreneurship.
Director of the Ivey New Venture Project, Larry Plummer was thrilled to see how his students, and their ideas, have grown from their time in the classroom. The New Venture Project is the capstone for Ivey HBA and MBA students seeking an entrepreneurship education. The course includes a 9-step process that guides students from ideation to the launch of a new company, including the completion of a business plan and pitch to investors.
“Having so many alumni startups on Dragon’s Den three weeks in a row—not to mention on Citytv’s Breakfast Television—represents what’s always been possible when Ivey’s academic program is supported by the Morrissette Institute in general and Western’s Accelerator in particular,” said Plummer.
These success stories included Marlow, a group of HBA ’20s, who are attempting to disrupt the feminine hygiene industry with their lubricated tampon. After completing their HBA, Marlow joined the Accelerator Program and went on to pitch at Western Angels’ Demo Day. Co-founders Simone Godbout, Nadia Ladak, Kiara Botha, and Harit Sohal were featured on Season 18 of CBC’s Dragon’s Den and Citytv’s Breakfast Television.
Cyder was another company featured at Western’s premier investor event.
Founded by William Christodoulou, BEng ’17, MSc’ 19, and Sukhman Dulay, MSc ’19, the SaaS (software as a service) company is providing both agency and compensation to users for how their data is used by companies. Following their pitch to Western Angels last fall, Christodoulou and Dulay also won an audience with the dragons.
Rohan Kumar, HBA ’18, was also able to translate his classroom project of caffeine-infused chewing gum into a funded venture, Zenergy. Caffeine is often a student’s best friend during their years in university, especially for Ivey HBAs involved in group projects and 48-hour reports. Creating the idea through the New Venture Project, Kumar has also pitched to investors across the Western community through the bi-annual Western Angels’ Demo Day.
Zenergy was also part of Season 18 of Dragon’s Den.
In 2017, Josh Barr and Amar Gupta met in the Ivey MBA Program and soon discovered a problem they were passionate about.
After frequent workouts at Western Student Recreation Centre, Barr and Gupta found themselves with a cup of protein in one hand, and a cup of coffee in the other, with a gym bag and work bag, slung across their shoulders. “The protein drink we hated, and the coffee would be cold by the time we were ready to drink it,” said Barr.
Their solution was brüst, a cold brew that brings together caffeine and protein to create the perfect healthy energy beverage. It is this multifunctional, dual nature that lands brüst as a functional coffee, and the first Canadian brand to bring protein into the mix. The idea was run through the MBA edition of the New Venture Project and graduated onto the Western Accelerator.
In April 2021, brüst pitched to investors at Western Angels’ Demo Day, and has continued rollicking along, signing major endorsements, completing crowdfunding campaigns, and being featured on Breakfast Television.
To mark Global Entrepreneurship Week, the Morrissette Institute for Entrepreneurship powered by Ivey is hosting events across campus from Nov. 20 to 24. Learn more and register for events online.