Ryan Peppin, a fourth-year Digital Media Studies student who pitched a real estate video production company, thatHOME, took the $2,500 cash prize. Ryan and his partner Max Conrad started their entrepreneurial idea only a few months before the VIU Business Plan Competition. As digital media students, their generation of the idea around video production seems quite natural based on their expertise. They were planning to provide video production services for real estate companies and individual property owners in Nanaimo. Then they were thinking to expand their target market to Victoria in the next three years. Ultimately, they would position themselves as a bridge in the real estate market, by connecting real estate agents and property owners with photography and videography specialists in their area.
The VIU Business Plan Competition was like a catalyst to Max and Ryan pushing them to get the business idea into real action. Although they started to plan the business before the competition, when they finally got fully involved they realized there were numerous things that needed to be considered. Answering the questions in the competition enabled them to think deeper and wider, and uncovered many problems they had never thought about. By knowing many judges actually liked their idea, it tremendously enhanced their confidence and determination. It is significant to figure out if you are in the right direction when you are experimenting with an idea.
The competition allowed them to progress in other areas. They have applied for the business license, which was one of the prize package services. They have spent their prize money to build their capacity. They purchased a high-end camera to allow them to improve their video quality and professionalism. Meanwhile, with the advice of their mentor, they were able to expand their ten-year plan into a more strategic framework including mission, vision, short term goals, long term goals and strategies. Max and Ryan are very optimistic about the real estate videography market. Due to the interactive and engaging features, video is showcasing complex information and objectives, especially in providing an immersive experience to the target customers. Thus, video demonstrates more benefits than other visual aids as a marketing tool to promote the properties in the real estate market. They have already received inquiries from interested parties who want to invest in their idea. They believe this model is a huge opportunity in this market.
At the end of the interview, Max and Ryan suggested that if you have passion towards something, just go for it, because you will never know if you can make it if you don’t try. Apart from being passionate and analytical about what you are doing; you need to have a flexible heart and a realistic attitude.