Six Ventures Win at UVic’s Pitch Competition

On November 24, 2021, the Coast Capital Innovation Centre held its Fall 2021 PitchIt event online. Entrepreneurs competed as individuals and small groups for six awards of $300 each. University of Victoria students, staff, faculty and alumni were all eligible to participate in the competition. Awards were presented to the top six most viable pitches after the event’s five judges cast their votes.

The event was facilitated by Andrea Hayes, the Program Manager of the Coast Capital Innovation Centre. “Action precedes confidence,” stated Andrea, “as an entrepreneur, it’s important to put yourself out there, receive feedback and establish connections early. Generating success [in pitching] takes a lot of repetitions. The PitchIt competition is one of the most important ways of getting these ‘reps’ in.”

Speaker pitching technology to group of judges

Contestants were given 90 seconds to give their pitch to the judges. A short judge-led question and answer period followed each pitch. Entrepreneurs explained how their product, service or concept functioned, and were suggested to provide details regarding their demand within each of their target markets.

This fall’s PitchIt event featured 18 pitches from a rich diversity of individuals. Products, services and concepts ranged from startups to established businesses. Five judges scored contestants on the following criteria:

  • Originality and innovation in comparison to other competitors in similar market(s)
  • Overt benefits to specific markets and or identified audiences
  • Practicality and feasibility; how believable is each proof of concept?
  • Economic and or social value to target market(s)
  • Potential impact on target market(s)
  • Overall clarity of presentation

Entrepreneur inventions and business concepts looked to solve an assortment of problems and establish new levels of efficiency within respective markets. Tong Li’s Poly V. Tech Inc. produces a new polymer to be used in the manufacturing of automotive parts (among other things). Tong Li claims that Poly V. polymer is a lighter, stronger and more sustainable alternative than existing polymers in the market. John Sommerfeld’s Sommer Ventures looks to disrupt the painting industry through “marrying” drones and paint sprayers. John is based out of the Kootenay region and has a vision to create a safer painting process for high-elevation projects.

This year’s Pitchit event featured a wide array of business models and concepts; however, ideas and business models were not limited to Canadian industries. Phoenix Dickenson’s business Deep Space Critters (DSP) looks to create sustainable insect protein for astronauts. Besides growing and harvesting insects, DSP also looks to sell insect-raising equipment and market directly to agencies and organizations concerned with space exploration and travel.

After judges cast a

nd counted their votes, it was decided that the six winners of the Fall 2021 PitchIt event were the following:

  • Matt from Apricell
  • Phoenix Dickenson from Deep Space Critters
  • Jason and Eric from Sanctuary Sneakers
  • Ella and Victoria from SheTrains
  • Gaze from ScoutBees
  • Tong Li from Poly V. Tech Inc

The PitchIt event is one of many ways that the Coast Capital Innovation Centre seeks to provide free programming for entrepreneurs. The centre also provides mentorship by bringing in business experts to share their insights and help budding entrepreneurs establish key connections within their individual markets.

The Coast Capital Innovation Centre has been made possible through a partnership between the University of Victoria and the Coast Capital Federal Credit Union. Since 2016, Coast Capital has committed over $1.5 million to support entrepreneurs and innovators at UVic.

Written by Spencer Legebokoff