Jeff Gilmore, a first year Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) student at Vancouver Island University (VIU) won first place in second annual VIU Business Plan Competition. His ‘used item business’ : Barter Brother earned him $2,500 cash and a package of donated business services valued at $7,000.
The VIU Business Plan Competition has had huge positive impact on Jeff’s business. First of all, winning the competition has greatly increased his confidence in his startup idea, as there were few people supporting his entrepreneurial idea in the past, even his mother was asking him to focus more on his studies. However, receiving the professional feedback from the judges and mentors has consolidated his faith to continue the business and lighted up the way that he was not very sure about.
Furthermore, the most obvious impact on the business was the increase in revenue from the marketing influence and wide publicity that the competition provided. There are an increasing number of clients that have contacted him for business, which was difficult in the past. His business has literally been transformed from the way that he used to look for clients through cold calls to clients connecting with him. On top of that, the prize money and business services provided by the competition enabled his business to be more legitimate and professional. The free business license and free working space at SquareOne were definitely a good start for Jeff to take him from an idea to a serious business. And the prize money he won allowed him to make an investment in logistics, as a result of which he purchased a van for transportation and a storage space in the warehouse of BestBuy for temporary storage use. As well, the connection to mentors helped him to bring the business to a whole new level in which he has been able to plan and manage the business more strategically.
As the business grows well, Jeff is also being challenged by the schoolwork. As a first year BBA student, he is still facing huge pressures of studying, as his business has occupied a large portion of his time. And he was not sure if it was worth spending so much time it, but now, he is pretty certain that the business is definitely a valuable thing to do apart from his studies. What he only needs to do now is try to balance his schoolwork and the business. And with the business going on, he will get more sense about the knowledge he learned, like management, finance and marketing, which he can immediately apply to his business. Thus, from this point, the Business Plan Competition has provided opportunities for young entrepreneurs not only with materialistic support, but also an authoritative affirmation to strengthen their faith to keep going. The competition is meant to encourage and inspire young people who have a passion in entrepreneurship to take the initiative and pilot their creative ideas. The best way to figure out if it is worth to do it is to take a step forward and get your hands dirty.