Tuesday, April 8, 2014

This year's National Business and Technology Conference (NBTC) took place on March 21st and 22nd at The Carlu in Toronto, ON.

As a sponsor for the event, the Conrad Centre ran a Startup Hour workshop and funded the inaugural People's Choice Award for the entrepreneurship competition.

Select students and alumni of the Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) program showcased their startups at the conference and served as judges in the business competitions. Moreover, several Enterprise Co-op (E Co-op) students attended as delegates and students and alumni from both programs competed in the entrepreneurship competition.

CONRAD Startup Hour

The Conrad Centre hosted a high impact workshop that put our delegates in a simulation of creating a real startup. You could really feel the energy and excitement in the room, as delegates were intensively brainstorming innovative solutions and actively seeking to talk to potential customers.

Conrad was definitely, and will continue to be, the ideal partner for this sort of activity as their programs combine the spirt of NBTC's biggest themes: entrepreneurship, business and technology."

- Rebecca Luo, VP Business Development,
  Nspire Innovation Network

"I survived CONRAD startup hour!" on a T-shirt

Over 60 students participated in Conrad's first ever Startup Hour workshop, including several in the E Co-op program. 

Delegates were split into six groups and asked to establish a problem and its solution, validate the solution with potential customers, and create a one minute pitch all in just one hour.

 NBTC'14 delegates sitting in a group with an oversized pad of paper, writing out ideas.

Teams of NBTC'14 delegates worked together to brainstorm problems and solutions.

The winning team was selected based partly on their problem and solution, partly on the validation of their idea, and partly on the delivery of their pitch. Each group was able to come up with a real problem, and then reach out to potential customers and stakeholders for validation.

The winning team pitched Food-To-Go, an app that would streamline food bank donations. Watch their 1 minute pitch:

The entrepreneurship competition

Margaret Cichosz and Ignacio Mongrell with a banner for Apartmint at NBTC

MBET alumni Margaret Cichosz and Ignacio Mongrell (pictured left) attended the conference with their startup, Apartmintan integrated online platform for finding an apartment, screening tenants, and paying rent.

In the entrepreneurship competition, Apartmint was a finalist and the runner-up in the newcomer category.

This year was Margaret's second time as a finalist at NBTC. In 2013, Margaret pitched for Wriber Inc., a company she co-founded with fellow MBET alumnus John Zupancic.

Apartmint pitch

Ignacio Mongrell and Margaret Cichosz pitched for Apartmint at NBTC'14.

A team of Waterloo Engineering alumni won the overall competition with their Velocity Garage startup, Voltera. The Voltera team has developed a printer to prototype low-cost circuit boards. Alroy Almeida, Co-Founder of Voltera, delivered an outstanding pitch at the finals and earned the Conrad People's Choice Award in addition to their first place victory.

The People's Choice Award was especially rewarding for us because it meant the voters believed in our product and our team despite having little background in hardware design.

We'd like to express our sincerest thanks to Conrad and the delegates at NBTC for their support and encouragement. Thank you!"

- Alroy Almeida, Velocity Alpha Mentor, co-founder of Voltera

About NBTC

NBTC'14. National Business and Technology ConferenceEach year, 400 youth leaders from across North America meet to share big ideas, connect with industry professionals, listen to world-class speakers, and participate in interactive workshops at NBTC.

This year, the conference took place on Friday, March 21st and Saturday, March 22nd at The Carlu in Toronto.

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