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Wilfrid Laurier University Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing
April 23, 2017
Canadian Excellence


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Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

Amusement park queuing tech idea wins BDO New Venture Competition

Apr 12/13

The new venture idea of “Pronto,” a queuing technology for amusement parks, won Laurier’s 2013 New Venture Competition, sponsored by BDO and co-sponsored by the CGA of Ontario.

“This year the students continued to wow us with a level of excellence that is difficult to describe,” said Laurier Assistant Professor Laura Allan. “I am so proud of the finalists, and look forward to watching them continue to excel in the program and beyond.”

More than 1,100 first-year BBA students presented their business plans for the 11th annual event, which took place April 5 and 6. The judging panel included Mike Morrice (BBA/BSc `08), founder and executive director, Sustainable Waterloo Region; Tyler Calder (BA`07), vice president, client strategy, Search Engine People; Jeff Nugent (BBA `95), president and chief executive officer, Contingent Workforce Solutions (CWS); Dean Elliott (BBA`87, CA) partner, BDO; and Tim Sothern (BBA `89, CA, FCA), designated assurance specialist, BDO.

The Pronto team, consisting of students Alice Jia, Olivia Liberatore, Ryan Nadeau, Jonathan Okun and Marco Wai, won first place and the BDO New Venture Cup.

“Our entire team is thrilled about winning the BDO New Venture Competition,” said Okun. “Throughout the year, we have worked hard to develop our initial idea into a viable new venture by performing market research, contacting industry professionals and crafting a strong business plan. Each step along the way has allowed us to learn the value of strong teamwork and true dedication.

“We want to thank the sponsors, faculty, staff and alumni who have put in the time and effort to offer such an exciting opportunity for us in our first year of the BBA program, and to the Laurier community as a whole for its amazing support throughout.”

The runners-up included:

  • Intelife, second place, a student time-management app
  • ThermaTint, third place, a coffee sleeve with a heat indicator
  • KinPower, finalist, a social venture massage service for students during exams
  • EZ Park Tech, finalist, a parking reservation service
  • Pedalz, finalist, an under-desk accessory to promote daily physical activity in elementary schools

Following the final presentations and judges’ deliberations, students had the opportunity to hear from Canadian entrepreneur and Laurier alumnus, Ryan Smolkin (BBA `95), founder of Smoke’s Poutinerie. In three years, Smolkin created a National Poutine Empire of over 43 locations. Smoke’s Poutinerie recently received the Pinnacle Award through Foodservice and Hospitality as the Canadian company of the Year.


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