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Breakthrough Your Business provides new opportunities for local entrepreneurs

Date posted: 
Thu, 03/14/2019
Breakthrough Your Business

On March 9, Red Deer College hosted Breakthrough Your Business, a Dragon’s Den-style competition where aspiring entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges.

“Breakthrough Your Business, which was open to local people and RDC alumni from across the province, provided a chance for participants to prepare and present their business plans,” says Darcy Mykytyshyn, Dean of the Donald School of Business. “The participants shared innovative plans that filled unique business niches, and it was great to hear the creativity and passion they all have for their proposals.” The first and second place winners were awarded $6,000 and $4,000, respectively, to help them start their small businesses. Each winner also received a $500 tuition voucher for RDC’s School of Continuing Education.

After hearing presentations from four participants, the judging panel made up of local business leaders ultimately selected the following winners:

Mike Bolton received first prize for Red Deer Rookies, a non-contact, competitive shinny league that he started in 2015. Since starting Red Deer Rookies, Bolton has seen a strong interest from participants, with more than 150 players ranging in age from 18 to 60 years old participating in Red Deer. He credits his success to creating a fun-first atmosphere that eliminates most barriers adults face in playing hockey. With his growing organization in Red Deer, Bolton is now looking to expand his market to other cities, which was the focus of his recent pitch at Breakthrough Your Business. 

Beth Anne Pedersen received second prize for Beth Anne Couture, a high-end brand of couture gowns that she designs and creates in central Alberta. With a strong reputation in Alberta’s fashion industry and networks in and around New York, Pedersen’s goal is to continue building her brand by expanding her line of gowns and hiring qualified staff who specialize in couture sewing. Her pitch at Breakthrough Your Business detailed this plan, as well as her goal to create a diverse product line that includes plus size gowns – an area currently under-represented in the fashion industry.

The foundational support for Breakthrough Your Business come from local entrepreneurs, Joan and Jack Donald, who have sponsored $20,000 in prize money to the event since it was first created. In addition, they have also dedicated their time through mentorship, another important learning opportunity for participants.

Each of the contestants had the opportunity to work with students from the Donald School of Business to collect guidance and mentorship around effectively packaging their presentations and ensuring key elements of a successful pitch were included. “Breakthrough your Business is a terrific example of how the Donald School of Business and RDC are working to bring industry, alumni and students together to build win-win solutions,” says Mykytyshyn. “Practical and applied experiences are a pivotal component of our business model, and these partnerships ensure that our transition to a university and the development of our own degrees will be aligned with the needs of central Alberta long into the future.”

Beyond student support, Bolton and Pedersen will have the opportunity to receive mentorship from the Breakthrough Your Business judges and sponsors of the event. In addition, the Donald School of Business has offered all of the contestants from the event the opportunity to connect with the School if they have specific business projects they would like to pursue. Through these types of potential collaborations, the contestants would gain valuable outside perspective and support for their projects, and RDC’s students would also gain practical, applied experience related to their courses.  

Additional details on Breakthrough Your Business are available on RDC’s website.

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For additional information contact:

Shelley Newman
Communications Strategist – Corporate

Brent Forster
Communications Strategist – Corporate