Congratulation to the University of Ottawa’s 2012 Wes Nicol Business Plan Competition winners! Student entrepreneurs Alex Smith and Chris Spoke took first prize for their business plan for Liaise, a web and mobile platform that hosts interactive seminars and video chats, for a fee. The winning team takes home $5,000 and the chance to compete for the Nicol Award, against the winning teams from competitions in 15 other Canadian universities. The Nicol Award is a national program designed to generate and reward interest in entrepreneurship on the part of undergraduate students in any faculty or field of study at participating universities across Canada.

Unsung Hero’s business plan, presented by Adam Haggart and Rafal Deren, took second place and a prize of $2,000. The top three was rounded out by Valued Pets business plan presented Hiam Al‐Dhabbi, taking home $1,000.

Dr. Bruce M. Firestone, Executive Director of served as MC for the afternoon competition and remarked that: “We have seen more student entrepreneurs involved each year as they go through elevator pitch competitions, business model competitions and finally the Wes Nicol Business Plan Competition. Many of these go on to found flourishing Real Life enterprises. It is thanks to the generosity of people like Wes Nicol that we can host these competitions and encourage new entrepreneurs in Canada.”

The three judges for the competition were Anna Silverman, Executive Director Shepherds of Good Hope Foundation; Rick Bédard, successful Internet entrepreneur and Stephen Daze, President and CEO of the AGAWA Entrepreneurship Development Corporation.

About the Winner – Liaise

Liaise is a web and mobile platform that hosts interactive online seminars and one‐on‐one video chats with high profile experts and celebrities, for a fee. The platform will include a directory of experts and celebrities, who will make time‐slots available out of their schedules available for booking, and will determine their own rates for 15‐, 30‐ and 60‐minute video chats, constrained by market forces of supply and demand. Through this platform, a series of live videoconferencing events will be listed for users to attend as engaged participants. These events will be hosted by world‐renowned subject matter experts recruited to address the demand of their expertise and unique insights. Eight spots will be made available for users wishing to interact in the hour long events, and all users will be given the opportunity to schedule one‐on‐one video chat follow ups. Acting as a broker to these interactions, connecting users with sought‐after personalities, Liaise would collect a 20% commission on every seminar and one‐on‐one chat booking.

For more information about the Wes Nicol Business Plan Competition, click here.