It was a rather remarkable pre-event reception held last Thursday April 26, 2012 at the Shaw Conference Centre, before the doors opened to all 550-plus guests attending the 10th Annual TEC VenturePrize Awards and Dinner Celebration.
The reception was held to honour the great business mentors and organizations that have worked with TEC VenturePrize on a volunteer basis since it began 10 years ago, never missing a year, putting in countless hours of volunteer mentoring of all the entrants, of screening the applicants and being the actual judges.
TEC VenturePrize, you see, is much more than the mere handing out of awards and prizes to rising new innovative Alberta companies. It's also a business education program for all the entrants, providing them with a series of seminars and one-on-one business advice free of charge.
Nine seasoned entrepreneurs have felt so strongly about the need for such a program that they have never missed a year of helping out with no compensation other than a sense of satisfaction.
In alphabetical order ...
Colin Christensen: This seasoned entrepreneur has been a star volunteer with VenturePrize, a mentor since the beginning, now also a screener (a preliminary judge, taking the entrants down to a manageable number for the final judges) and a student competition judge.
Brian Goheen: The president and CEO of the Chiro franchise restaurant chain, boasting 600 employees, has quietly offered his services as a mentor to VenturePrize entrants since the program's inception.
Ted Heidrick: Recently retired as a professor of engineering at the University of Alberta and the university's coordinator of the MBA program in technology commercialization, Ted has always taken on more than his share of applicants asking for his services as a mentor. Several of his mentored contestants have made it to the VenturePrize finals.
Van Konrad: The president of MBA Associates is a popular mentor often asked for specifically by contestants (word gets around - applicants are invited to choose who'd they like to work with from the volunteer mentors leading up to the contest presentations) thanks to his business coaching skills and personality.
Gord Meeberg: The president of Insignus Consulting and a senior project manager for EPCOR has been a VenturePrize mentor for nine years, then last year added being a screener to his VenturePrize roles.
Dennis Pommen: This serial entrepreneur, currently president of the Pommen Group, is consistently a favourite applicant mentor.
Sam Soliman: The Chief Financial Officer of 310-DUMP is now an expert screener, having reviewed at least 40 VenturePrize business plan applications over the last 10 years. He has provided valuable feedback to dozens upon dozens of budding entrepreneurs.
Lloyd Steier: A distinguished professor in the U of A's School of Business (Chair and Academic Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise, Academic Director of the Alberta Business Family Institute and Professor of Strategic Management and Organization), Dr. Lloyd still found the time to set up the original educational component of VenturePrizes Student Competition. The educational template is still in use by VenturePrize today. Lloyd was also the founder and lead facilitator of the VenturePrize seminar series and continues to be an active volunteer helping with the student competition category.
Ted Yoo: A patent agent and lawyer with Bennett-Jones, Ted has been a screener for VenturePrize since the very start, and by now he knows a good business plan when he sees one!
Also acknowledged and given a standing ovation (OK the people were standing in any case!) was VenturePrize executive producer and TEC Edmonton Communications Director Kendel Ferrier. The organizer of the awards since its start, Kendel is the glue that holds the awards together and has in no small part been responsible for VenturePrize's remarkable success over the years.
WELL DONE ALL!!!! VENTUREPRIZE CONTESTANTS OVER THE YEARS SALUTE YOU!!!
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