The three business founders now had a chance to give back, to share their suggestions for turning ideas into businesses with an enthusiastic audience of some 150 entrepreneurially-minded Edmontonians.
All three businesses were born out of frustration. Menutriaâ€™s co-founder Kelsie Kozakevich always had difficulty finding restaurants, and knowledgeable servers, able to accommodate her severe egg allergy.When Meghan Dear went shopping, she wanted to know much more about what she was buying than the price per pound. She wanted to know more about where the product was grown, processed, its nutritional information, if she was supporting local growers. And of course few grocery clerks would have a clue.
Deepak Gupta was frustrated by a problem we all know too well â€“ password overload.
Out of frustration came solutions. Why not an app, said Kelsieâ€™s business partner and business school student Joel Wegner, that could customize a restaurant menu to dietary restrictions?
Why not a skew label by the apples in a grocery store, thought Meghan, that could give your smartphone information about where and by whom those apples were grown?
Why not sign in to a website, Deepak thought, by using other social media accounts, like Facebook?
Each business took advantage of TEC Edmonton and the cityâ€™s fast evolving innovation support ecosystem to learn more about business and develop their business models. The Edmonton Journalâ€™s Capital Ideas, for instance, has become another vital piece of the innovation ecosystem, providing a robust forum for the industrious dreamers who are forming a dynamic group of entrepreneurs.
Menutria is one of the first businesses to emerge from the University of Albertaâ€™s eHUB, a new student/staff/alumni entrepreneurship incubator with ties to TEC Edmonton. Through eHUB he learned about a new prize category at VenturePrize, the ICT stream sponsored by TELUS.
Meghan started as a raw rookie with no business experience. Being adventurous, she first entered Localize in the 2014 VenturePrize competition, where the educational component of the contest did her a world of good. â€śThe judges blew my idea apart, which was a really good thing. It was initially devastating, but I was able to get a good picture of where Localize was at. I learned how much I didnâ€™t know.â€ť
When Localize re-entered VenturePrize for this springâ€™s competition, the experience and the ongoing education side of VenturePrize (business mentoring, business planning) put Meghan and Localize over the top.
Login Radius has had a long and illustrious relationship with TEC Edmonton and other partners in the regional innovation ecosystem.
Originally incubated at Startup Edmonton, Login Radius moved into offices at the TEC Edmonton TEC Centre in downtown Edmonton. Deepak and company have worked closely with TEC Edmonton business advisor and Executive-in-Residence Shaheel Hooda. Angel investment has come via the TEC Venture Angels investor group.
â€śVenturePrize helped LoginRadius identify loopholes in our business,â€ť says Deepak, â€śwhere we needed to improve. And TEC has been very helpful bringing us to investors.â€ť
The two takeaways that best resonated with the audience were that great business ideas can often arrive from problems or annoyances and getting early validation or positive feedback for an idea is a powerful affirmation of the business potential of the idea.
For the TEC Edmontonians, seeing these three young and promising business founders offering advice and encouragement to other early-stage entrepreneurs was more than enough â€śvalidationâ€ť .
Itâ€™s a warm and fuzzy validation, to know TEC Edmontonâ€™s programs and people truly make a difference for the ambitious but often inexperienced entrepreneurs we serve.
Visit the Capital Ideas website for the schedule of their upcoming events, where Edmonton’s entrepreneurs share what they know.