Entrepreneurs strut out ideas

Product placement: Launch-a-Preneur winner Len Marriott touts the virtues of his Terroir Cheese business.
Martha Wickett/Observer

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 Entrepreneurs featured
 Businesses pitch ideas
 Opportunity for Shuswap entrepreneurs
 Entrepreneurs get name change
 A dozen teams vie for Launch-a-Preneur win
 Office Politics 101: I’m thinking of starting a business
By Martha Wickett – Salmon Arm Observer
Published: May 01, 2013 8:00 AM
Updated: May 01, 2013 9:00 AM
Cheese topped Sal-mon Arm’s Launch-a-Preneur competition, which wrapped up Friday night in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
First prize went to Len Marriott and Terroir Cheese, which is described as a business producing local artisan raw-milk cheeses reflecting the unique taste produced by the North Okanagan/Shuswap. Just as champagne comes only from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France, Terroir cheese reflects its natural environment.
Terroir Cheese went home with a $17,000 prize package that included six months of business mentorship through Community Futures’ Accelerate Shuswap, $3,000 of seed capital from Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union, $1,500 from Launch-a-Preneur ticket sales, as well as advertising, bookkeeping and legal support.
Seventeen teams began the three-month program created by Okanagan College Enactus students, Community Futures and Salmon Arm Economic Development, with eight taking part in the grand finale. The program included a series of workshops and business mentors to help prepare a detailed business plan and determine if a business is viable.
Friday evening at the Salmar Classic began with an elimination round where all eight teams gave an ‘elevator pitch’ – a quick overview of their product or service to try to entice an investor. They were trying to convince a panel of four business-savvy judges as well as three ‘green business’ judges that theirs would be a good investment.
Along with Terroir Cheese, teams included: Ackerview Guesthouse, respite care on a ‘Green Care’ farm; Baked on the Lake, fresh baked goodies available on Shuswap Lake; Trans-Herbalcooks, hemp and cannabis products for medicinal uses; Intwined Fibre Arts, a natural fibre business providing yarns and other products as well as related workshops; EKG Thermal Imaging, offering scans to pinpoint electrical faults in a variety of industries; Hillside Dreams, a goat dairy; and Artisan Hydro Heat, providing a modularized hydronic radiant-heating system.
Following the elevator pitches and a pause that was ably filled by MC Darren Jacklin, a business/life mentor who has trained businesses and agencies all over the world, four businesses were called back for the second round.
They were Artisan Hydro Heat, Terroir Cheese, TransHerbalcooks and Intwined Fibre Arts, all vying for the prizes of Green Initiative, Public Choice, and first-, second-, third- and fourth-place awards.
During round two, entrepreneurs were given time for a more in-depth presentation, complete with financial projections. Judges then had a chance to ask questions.
After deliberations, during which audience members had a chance to vote for their favourite business – each with a display in the packed lobby of the theatre, the decisions were announced.
Public Choice award, with an $1,100 prize package, went to Trevor Spalding and Conrad Wilkins of Artisan Hydro Heat. They explained that their product could take the complexity of a traditional hydronic system and put it into a space the size of a desk-top computer, heating a space up to 600 square feet.
Winning the Green Award was Althea Mongerson with Intwined Fibre Arts, a $1,200 prize package.
Fourth place, a $750 prize, went to Trans- Herbalcooks.
Intwined Fibre Arts returned to the stage, this time for third place and a $1,450 prize package. Entrepreneur Mongerson commented that the Launch-a-Preneur program has been “huge” for her, a sentiment expressed by several competitors.
Left vying for second and first place were Artisan Hydro Heat and Terroir Cheese. Second prize and a package valued at $3,350 went to Artisan Hydro Heat.

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