Candidates in the Class of 2016 completed their final project to the Technology Entrepreneurship Business Consulting Projects by delivering a crucial presentation to a panel of venture capitalists.
The candidate teams developed two business tools – Business Plan and Investors Package – for their respective startups along with making a pitch on behalf of the startups to a panel of investors.
The morning of pitches has received the nickname of the “Dragon’s Den of the Telfer Executive MBA” as the pitches are similar to those seen on the CBC’s hit TV series Dragon’s Den.
Candidates went into over-drive working with the members of the seven different startups for the six weeks prior to the pitches. They spent hours generating a sound business plan and a compelling, attention grabbing pitch which provide the Class of 2016 with a better appreciation and understanding of what it takes to be entrepreneurs, daily challenges of entrepreneurs and why it is important to celebrate entrepreneurs’ contribution to the Canadian economy.
The morning of October 17th arrived, and each of the teams supported one member as he or she pitched the idea to the panel, but the presentation wasn’t the only nail-biting moment of the day. The panel was especially candid in their feedback to the teams as well as the startup company on what they liked, and especially specific on what they didn’t like or didn’t see. It was constructive criticism from a real panel of investors that the teams and the startups took away from the session to aid in refining their pitch.
Team one was appointed this year’s title of the ‘best pitch’. The team hit all aspects of the pitch and with feedback from the panel on addressing aspects of the technology along with providing clarity on funding that will bring them to the engagement stage.
The Telfer Executive MBA Director and Professor, Sophia Leong, delivers the Technology Entrepreneurship course alongside the Business Consulting Project requirements. The course and project encourage a strong emphasis on experiential learning within a working environment similar to an entrepreneur’s lifestyle, where time and money are precious resources when attempting to gain funding on a business idea.
The Technology Entrepreneurship Business Consulting Project is one of the six key projects within the Telfer Executive MBA’s Signature Series of Six Business Consulting Projects that are integrated within the Program’s curriculum. Each project requires the candidate to work as a business consultant with client organizations to address real business challenges and opportunities within a short timeframe.
"The Technology Entrepreneurship Business Consulting Project was a tremendous “real-life” experience for our entire team. It was certainly a highlight within the Telfer Executive MBA program that allowed us to implement all of the vital learnings, concepts and theories we had acquired throughout our experience in the program thus far. It was a defining experience that allowed us to extend consulting services to a start-up company and experience to the adrenaline of pitching the company to investors. We added value to our respective company, while empowering us as entrepreneurs and executives.
We were challenged as a team to draw from a wide array of our first year learnings to successfully scrutinize, provide recommendations and pitch our company to a panel of venture capitalists within a short period of time. The adventure solidified our cohesiveness and validated our capacity as a team. Aligned with the differentiating vision of the Telfer Executive MBA program, the Technology Entrepreneurship Business Consulting Project provided us with the privilege of applying our knowledge with a hands-on opportunity to impact and address organisational challenges for our client. It was a tremendous and rewarding experience!!"
“One of the most thrilling and adrenaline moments of the Executive MBA program is by far the 15 minutes you have in front of financially wealthy, potentially life-changing set of investors during the Technology and Entrepreneurship Venture Capital pitch. This is the fourth of a series of six consulting engagements our team has now successfully completed and it has been indeed one of the most challenging to date.
During a very short six weeks, our team was entrenched in an upcoming startup company who was looking to make a difference in the business world. We were faced with a unique experience and had to their learn product terminologies and business which were completely foreign to us. Our team used our toolbox of skills and frameworks to truly understand and provide recommendations in the form of a business plan to a company that wanted to move themselves to the next level.
Doing this takes a vision, money, courage, and tenacity which are true characteristics of an entrepreneur. At the beginning when we asked “when can we call you for connecting and getting information?” the answer was “any time, night or day, I’ll always answer”. Our team worked diligently and around the clock to research, gather, process, analyze, communicate, and deeply understand their business model and compile it in such a way so that we can demonstrate profitability and express it in a manner to capture the attention of our venture capital investor audience. The final moments of putting together, reviewing, and rehearsing the VC slide package right to the very last available time period of 11 pm the previous evening really showed our team's dedication and passion in ensuring the delivery of the best possible presentation to the investors for our clients.
We not only represented the company, we “were” the company for those six weeks, and especially in those 15 minutes. The fame and the glory was short in duration, but the lessons learned were truly invaluable to both our team and our client. What a rush! "
“A great idea is not always enough! Our team learned that there is much more needed than a product’s “special effects” and promises of revenues to impress investors.
The Technology Entrepreneurship Business Consulting Project required working effectively with the startup as an integral part of their team. Pitching to a panel of venture capitalists is not easy to begin with but imagine trying to sell someone else's dream with the level of enthusiasm as if it were your own. Your client may feel that “the baby” is beautiful as it is but at the end of the day it is your job as a consultant to present the reality, as harsh as it maybe, and help them adjust their business model accordingly – not an easy task in our case.
Each investor has their own style but not always known by the presenter and their preferences play a key part in how they react to your pitch. For example, we used a local successful startup as an analogy during our presentation and unfortunately one of the investors made it very clear that he is not a fan of that model. Let’s just say that we surely got his attention at the pitch! You can research investors’ background and their industry knowledge but obtaining insight on their personality and pitching preference is priceless data to hold."