Lifestyle

Launch your business idea with help from institute

Students with great business ideas lodged in the back of their minds can gain a head start through Launch at SAIT.
As a business plan competition and seminar series, the program’s value is something SAIT photojournalism graduate Britton Ledingham and business partner Joel Kelly can attest to.
They won second place in the 2009-10 Launch competition with their company idea iEvolve Designs.
Their goal, beyond running a full-time design company, is to speak out against child sexual abuse crimes, such as child trafficking.
“We wanted to be more than just another design company, one that is involved with bettering the world by contributing to social enterprises or charities with our work or financially,” said Kelly.
Because of Launch, iEvolve Designs has been fast-tracked into the business world.  Ledingham and Kelly have been able to articulate their direction and goals under the mentorship they received through Launch.
“Britton and I were determined to make it work, so I know we would have been successful either way, but it would have taken us a lot longer to get where we are currently,” said Kelly.
Within the next five years, Ledingham and Kelly wish to expand to Toronto and Vancouver, and hire three employees while continuing to stand against social injustice.

More about Launch
Launch will be holding monthly seminars from December 2010 to May 2011, hosting business experts and mentors who will help sculpt student business plans.
Joe Petermann, a co-ordinator with Applied Research and Innovation Services, said while the introductory seminar has already come and gone, students can still attend the next session on Dec. 7.
SAIT alumni and current students in any applied, degree, diploma, certificate, certificate of achievement, pre-employment or apprenticeship programs are eligible to participate in the competition.
Students can compete in teams, but at least half of the team members must be SAIT students, and 51 per cent ownership of the company must belong to a SAIT student or alumni.
First place prize includes $20,000 and other financial and legal aid in a package worth $42,000.
Along with the relationships they will build, and the exposure they will experience, top three contenders become automatically eligible to apply for $30,000 in financing from the Canadian Youth Businesses Foundation and the Business Development Bank of Canada.
For more information about the Launch business plan competition, visit saitlaunch.ca.

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