Halifax to Host Business Model Contest

Ed Leach talks about the upcoming Canada’s Business Model Competition by comparing it to the situation that used to exist in Canadian college basketball – the championships were in Halifax every year.

Dalhousie University – at which Leach teaches entrepreneurship – announced Thursday that its Rowe School of Business will hold the competition for student entrepreneurs on March 9. The winner will take home half of $30,000 in prizes, and then attend the International Business Model Competition at Harvard University May 3 and 4.

What’s significant is that it is the only Canadian venue for the competition in 2013, and, as the competition grows each year, the Canadian championship will continue to be held in Halifax. Competitions will likely be held at other Canadian universities, but they will feed into the Canadian finals at Dal. (There used to be a similar setup in College basketball, in which the championships were held each year in Halifax.)

The Dal event this year – to be held March 9 at the downtown Courtyard Marriott – will be held in conjunction with other preliminary competitions taking place in several locations across the U.S., on the Mekong Delta in Vietnam and in Lima, Peru. All will send winners to the finals at Harvard.

At the Halifax event, teams will compete for the Deloitte Smart Launch Award, which comprises: a first prize of $10,000 in cash and $5,000 in consulting services from Deloitte; second prize of $3,000 cash plus $7,000 in services; and third prize of $2,000 cash plus $3,000 in services.

“Deloitte is proud to partner with Canada’s Business Model Competition as we present new ways of thinking about innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Shannon MacDonald, Managing Partner Atlantic, for Deloitte.

The competition is the latest move by Leach and Mary Kilfoil to spread the gospel of lean startups to students in the region. Basing their curriculum on the writings of Berkeley Professor Steve Blank, they teach students to base business models on successive interviews with potential clients to establish early what the market wants and how to make money. That method was the basis of their acclaimed Starting Lean course at Dal last autumn.

Teams for the competition will be drawn primarily from Atlantic Canadian business schools, but the event is open to students from any Canadian university. Teams can apply at www.bmccanada.ca.

Brian Lowe, Entrepreneur in Residence at the Norman Newman Centre for Entrepreneurship, sees the competition as part of a larger strategy. “We are working with a range of partners to create a regional innovation ecosystem,” he said in a statement. “The potential is here to drive regional prosperity by harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit of bright students to the commercialization of the research being done in our universities.”


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We’re really excited to see this initiative coming together after all the planning. Thanks for spreading the word.