Earlier today, Dickson and I attended the luncheon and awards ceremony for the 2007 VenturePrize business plan competition. As you probably know, we competed last year and narrowly missed out to ProExams (now ProTraining). The ProTraining guys invited us to join them at their table this year, and we happily accepted!
First of all, congratulations to the grand prize winner, Picomole Instruments, and to their competition – Business Infusions Inc. and Nirix Technology (I was pulling for Nirix as I had met and talked with CEO Steven Hsu in the past and was following their progress though the semi-finals). All of the elevator pitches and videos were very well done. In fact, I’d say the videos this year were far better than any of the videos created last year. Much flashier! The other big observation was that this year’s event seemed much smaller and a little more low-key than last year. I suspect this is because last year was extra special with the grand opening of Hall D.
The guest speaker today was Leonard Brody, who talked about Canada and entrepreneurship. Leonard is currently a director of NowPublic, a partner at Growthworks Capital, and has advised many of our country’s politicians. When he started his presentation, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be that good. That’s just the initial impression I got, perhaps because he was so distracted by the lapel microphone.
When he finally got things rolling though, I was impressed. He’s a great speaker and he’s obviously done his homework. Instead of sharing experiences however, Leonard chose to focus on statistics from recent research. Of course, statistics can be manipulated, so I took everything he said with a grain of salt. That said, he was pretty much preaching to the converted (at least with me). Some of the ideas he talked about:
- In recent years, Canada is an economic wonder.
- We need to do a better job of telling our story as Canadians.
- Mobile phones are going to be huge.
- My generation spends more time on media than work. And we have to multitask.
- “Smart” is irrelevant.
- Continuous partial attention (related to the multitasking).
Basically, the Gen-Yers and Millenials are taking over and they don’t do things the same way as previous generations. The workplace isn’t ready for them. And you should join Facebook (okay he didn’t say that exactly).
I’d say his presentation was the highlight of the afternoon for me. Like Dickson remarked, they needed “victory music” or something in the background when they announced the winner of the competition! The loud applause followed by silence was somewhat off-putting.
One final remark on the afternoon – lunch was delicious! And I actually ate it this year (too anxious last year to eat). The main course was Achiote Marinated Chicken Breast, Black Bean Orange Salsa, Basmati Rice, and Seasonal Vegetables. Dessert was good too: Mini Citrus Cheesecake on Rosemary Crust, topped with Brambleberry Compote and Orange Sour Cream Drizzle.
Congrats to Picomole, and thanks again to ProTraining for the invite.