Businesses vie for top spot

Launch-a-Preneur: Public can watch, vote for winners.

Salmon Arm’s version of Dragon’s Den is coming up this Friday.

The Shuswap Launch-a-Preneur program comes to its conclusion at the Salmar Classic Theatre on April 13, starting at 6 p.m., when 10 teams will vie for a number of awards, including the grand prize.

Kimberley Worthington, business support co-ordinator for the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society, reports that the evening will begin with an elimination round where all 10 teams will give an ‘elevator pitch’ – a quick overview of their product or service to try to entice an investor. They’ll be trying to convince a panel of five judges comprised of faculty from Okanagan College as well as angel investors – affluent individuals who provide capital for a business start-up, in the style of programs such as CBC-TV’s Dragons’ Den.

Twenty-three teams started the process and, over the past few weeks, six dropped out. Seventeen are completing the program with 10 of them deciding to compete in the final competition.

Along the way, teams have taken part in workshops focusing on finance, marketing, a business plan, service and product development, and public speaking. Along with the workshops, they have teamed up with Okanagan College SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) students, for whom Launch-a-Preneur is their community project. After the first round, five teams remaining will have 10 minutes for a more in-depth presentation.

Prizes to be awarded include: a public’s choice award which audience members can vote on; a green initiative award; the third runner-up; second runner-up and the grand prize. The top prize will include a ‘business incubator’ – six months of business mentorship through Community Futures Shuswap as well as $5,000 of seed capital from Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union.

Purchase your tickets at the economic development society, community futures, Hucul Printing and the Co-op gas station in Salmon Arm, Sorrento Building Centre, Old Dog New Tricks in Blind Bay and True Value Hardware in Chase.

For more information, contact Worthington at 250-833-0608.