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Slaight New Venture Competition finds innovative way to continue event

April 06, 2020
New Slaight Venture Competition

A student entrepreneurship prize that recognizes innovation has found an innovative way to conduct the awards during COVID-19 restrictions — by taking the competition online.

The Slaight New Venture Competition at the Ted Rogers School of Management fosters student entrepreneurship by awarding two $25,000 prizes of startup seed money to two students at the Ted Rogers School – one female and one male. Both options are open to everyone who identifies as a woman; identifies as a man and everyone who identifies as trans+ or non-binary.

The competition is hosted by Dr. Sean Wise (Associate Professor, Entrepreneurship & Strategy, Ted Rogers School), Start Me Up (external link, opens in new window)  and Enactus Ryerson (external link, opens in new window) , with the generous support of the Slaight Family Foundation.

“Due to COVID-19, and to protect our community, this year we are taking the Slaight New Venture Competition online," says Dr. Sean Wise, Chair, Slaight New Venture Competition. “We will be sharing the pitches from our top competitors on our website and allowing the entire community to vote and provide feedback." 

The transition to a virtual competition has gone well so far, with a total of 35 entries – up from previous years. The submissions are widely representative of the Ted Rogers School (and our community at large) at both the undergraduate and graduate level. 

The six finalists for this year’s Slaight New Venture Competition are:

Top Female: Bersabel Ogbazghi, Elizabeth Loserro and Ceyrina Craig

Top Male: Eric Muellejans, Jesse Amdur and Jordan Katz

The videos for these six finalists will be posted online for the community to review, and questions will be asked and answered via comments for the videos. Visitors to the site will be asked to rank all three male led startups and three all female led startups as first, second and third and will have until April 30, 2020 to vote. Simultaneously, three official judges will watch the videos and read the comments to decide their final rankings to determine the two winners at the end of April.

“It takes a very special entrepreneurial resiliency to fight through these tough times; this goes for both the Enactus team who successfully managed to transition the competition online in less than a week and the entrepreneurs who applied to the competition,” says Rand Abou Ras, President of Enactus Ryerson. “This is what makes Ryerson and the Ted Rogers School very different from any other institute in the country; our entrepreneurial spirit, resiliency and drive are unmatched." 

The winners of last year’s Slaight New Venture Competition were Abdullah Memon (Business Technology Management) for mettleAI, a system designed to help opiate and alcohol-dependent individuals in recovery, and Tania Bawa (Human Resources Management) for Travelot, a platform for travellers wanting to sell their non-refundable plane tickets and hotel reservations.