Algonquin College entrepreneurs rendezvous over reading week

Reading week: A time for post-secondary students to catch up on assignments, rest, reconnect with loved ones or work a few extra hours. But for the eager Algonquin College entrepreneurs, it is a time to continue building their own unique visions and using all the college has to offer. On Oct. 23, a rendezvous was […]
Photo: Marcelo Jaramillo
In May, 25 students participated in the SUMMIT Entrepreneurship Boot Camp.

Reading week: A time for post-secondary students to catch up on assignments, rest, reconnect with loved ones or work a few extra hours.

But for the eager Algonquin College entrepreneurs, it is a time to continue building their own unique visions and using all the college has to offer.

On Oct. 23, a rendezvous was held for past and future participants, coaches, speakers, judges and supporters of the yearly spring boot camp, SUMMIT, a competition resembling the American reality television series Shark Tank.

Yuefeng Wang, an Algonquin College alumnus from the web-development program, had participated in SUMMIT a previous year and had pitched a software program which would aid prospective students in choosing their future program.

“I want to solve the real-world problems,” Wang said, adding that ChatGPT and AI can be used to people’s advantage, even in minuscule ways.

Beginning eight years ago in the applied research department (though it currently resides as part of the business department), the SUMMIT Entrepreneurship Boot Camp is a yearly week-long opportunity for anyone who is currently studying at or has recently graduated from Algonquin College with an interest in business entrepreneurship.

In May, 25 students participated in the SUMMIT Entrepreneurship Boot Camp,
In May, 25 students participated in the SUMMIT Entrepreneurship Boot Camp, Photo credit: Marcelo Jaramillo

Much of the week consists of workshops and sessions led by guest speakers. The group last May was additionally given the opportunity to tour Invest Ottawa, a local economic development agency.

But what most students have their sights set on is the end-of-week Shark Tank-like competition where students pitch their start-up concepts in front of judges. Cash prizes between $750 and $2,000 are given to the winners, and all finalists receive access to additional coaching, mentorship, and legal services.

David Cronier, a computer programming student, was the third-place finalist in May after pitching Slide Wizard, a web-based presentation software.

“I was pitching (Slide Wizard) to one of my friends — I wanted him to join me,” said Cronier about his start-up concept. “And he actually convinced me to join his idea instead. So, I’ve pivoted.”

While his original idea remains on the back burner, Cronier and his friend are working on developing a different web application to help the lives of call centre agents, a job they both previously had.

“We understand very well the pains of a regular agent, so we’re trying to build software to make their lives easier,” said Cronier.

Aric Morrow pitches his start-up concept, a multiplayer terraforming simulator video game, in May 2023. His idea landed him in first place during the competition.
Aric Morrow pitches his start-up concept, a multiplayer terraforming simulator video game, in May 2023. His idea landed him in first place during the competition. Photo credit: Marcelo Jaramillo

Aric Morrow, a web development and internet applications student who won the competition this past May after pitching a multiplayer terraforming simulator video game, also found his start-up on hold.

“I don’t have time to build such a large project, and so I wish I had pitched something a little smaller,” said Morrow. “But every time I have ideas, I open my notepads or jot stuff down.”

While the simulator game is in the works, Morrow has published two other games through his game development studio, Lucky Leaf Games.

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