Tech Venture Challenge ready to launch U of S entrepreneurial dreams

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - April 9, 2012 2012-04-02-OTHER Three pages by April 27: that's what it takes to put aspiring entrepreneurs in the running for $50,000 to launch their business and make it reality.

"Of course, filling in the three-page application is the easy part," says Lorna Shaw-Lennox. "The goal of the Tech Venture Challenge goes far beyond this, and even beyond the winning business plan. We're committed to helping our winner launch a successful new technology business in Saskatchewan."
Shaw-Lennox, a start-up specialist with the U of S Industry Liaison Office, explains that the competition offers $50,000, office space at Innovation Place, and professional services from Deloitte to help launch a new venture. Professional mentoring and ongoing support is also part of the winning package.
Any member of the U of S community, be it employee, faculty researcher, alumni or student, is invited to apply.
The brother and sister team of Chris and Rachel Buhler launched Floating Gardens Greenhouse in Osler with the help of their Tech Venture Challenge win in 2007. In 2011, after several years of hard work, they began marketing their products at the Saskatoon and Warman farmer's market, Saskatoon's Steep Hill Food Co-operative and various local restaurants. This year they are planning to introduce new technology to make their greenhouse more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
"It has been a lot of work but it's great to see our dream of starting our own business has come to reality" Rachel says, crediting the Tech Venture Challenge (then the BioVenture Challenge) with helping them get started.
"We realized through the business plan competition and the mentoring from the Industry Liaison Office that there is the broad range of skills we needed to develop to become entrepreneurs."
Rachel also notes that while the $50,000 prize lured them to the competition, in the end they received more benefit from the education and mentoring as a part of being a finalist.
"Being a part of the competition gave us immediate credibility when approaching financial institutions and investors which helped us raise the capital we needed," Chris says.
For her part, Shaw-Lennox and the team at the Industry Liaison Office is looking forward to seeing some novel ideas come forward in this year's Tech Venture Challenge.
"Floating Gardens' success shows how the winning combination of hard work and following the right process can turn a dream into reality," she says. "We're looking forward to welcoming this year's entrants and helping them advance their own start-up dreams."
For more information, contact:
Lorna Shaw-Lennox
Startup Company Specialist
Industry Liaison Office
University of Saskatchewan
Chris Buhler
Floating Gardens

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