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The team from Cyclica accepts the 2013 MBA World Trophy. (MBA World Trophy)
The team from Cyclica accepts the 2013 MBA World Trophy. (MBA World Trophy)

Small Business Briefing

Canadian university team wins global business prize Add to ...

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Rotman scores in Dublin

Three students from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management took home the best business prize at the first MBA World Trophy event held in Dublin last weekend.

Jason Mitakidis, Kate Rootman and Elizabeth Chak pitched their startup Cyclica at the entrepreneurship competition, which featured teams from 17 universities. “We are very excited to have been chosen as the winners of the MBA World Trophy by such a distinguished judging panel from the global VC (venture capital) and entrepreneurship community,” Mr. Mitakidis, founder and CEO of Cyclica, said in a press release.

His life sciences technology company leverages big data to develop new medicines at a lower cost. The MBA World Trophy was held from May 16 to 18, “with the full support of the Irish government.” Teams were paired with mentors, pitched their business models to a panel of business leaders, and participated in workshops on innovation, finance, growth and leadership.

BDC reveals nine finalists

The nine finalists have been announced for the 2013 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest organized by the Business Development Bank of Canada. Entrants were required to explain a “turning point” in their businesses and propose a solution to take them to the next level. The finalists are competing for a $100,000 grand prize and a secondary prize of $25,000 in consulting services. Online voting by the public has now begun, and anyone can vote once a day until June 11. Selection committees across Canada met to review the applications, looked at the “quality and feasibility” of each submission, as well as its potential to improve each company’s growth. The winner and runner-up will be announced on June 17.

Kenney in the Valley

Canada’s minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, spent a few days in Silicon Valley last weekend to meet “foreign entrepreneurs” and members of the startup and tech communities. His aim, according to a press release, was to promote the country’s Start-Up Visa program and outline the benefits of starting a business and investing in Canada. Mr. Kenney met with Dave McClure, founder of 500 Start-Ups, a U.S. accelerator that helps mentor and fund entrepreneurs, and he sat down with members of C100, which supports Canadian technology businesses from its base in Silicon Valley. Mr. Kenney visited the Plug and Play Tech Center, he attended the TiEcon 2013 conference, and he was a guest speaker at Stanford University. While at Stanford, he spoke to legal scholar and entrepreneur Dan Siciliano, and Vivek Wadhwa, director of research at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization. “The message was delivered loud and clear to the entrepreneur community in Silicon Valley that Canada is open for business,” Mr. Kenney said in the press release.

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

Startup Weekend in Calgary

Calgary Startup Weekend takes place July 12 to 14. All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch a startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas – determined by popular vote – and then do through 54 hours of business model creation, coding, designing and market validation. The weekend culminates with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders where the top three teams are awarded prizes.

Leading edge of tech

This year’s Discovery conference takes place in Toronto May 27 and 28, and brings together “the best and brightest minds in industry, academia, the investment community and government to showcase leading-edge technologies, best practices and research in Ontario.” You can register here.

EDITOR’S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

Out of the playpen?

OrganicKidz is trying to grow beyond its signature baby bottle product to include other items, such as nursing covers and food containers, with plans as well to create organic-material bottle-drying racks and clothing, and toxin-free toys. It’s also looking to new markets, beyond the more than 600 babies’ and children’s stores – the so-called “juvenile market” – around the world, chiefly in Canada and the United States, that carry its bottles.

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

Are you a survivor?

Survival can become a way of life for small business owners long after the company is established. This means they continue to do most things themselves, thus reducing the number of hours they have to lead the business. Here are ten tips for leaders stuck in survival mode.

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at smallbusiness@globeandmail.com.

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