Red River College Polytechnic's Portage campus is holding an Entrepreneur Challenge this coming Thursday, February 15. Regional campus manager Guy Moffat says they've partnered with Heartland Community Futures White Horse Plains, Portage Regional Economic Development (PRED), the Portage la Prairie & District Chamber of Commerce, Communities Building Youth Futures, and Arrowhead Development Corporation to put together a competition for youth.

He explains competitors will put together a business plan, business idea, or product idea.

"They will get some expertise at the kickoff of the event, which is happening on February 15, from the presenters of the different corporations partnering on this," says Moffat. "Then they will work in their teams or individually for a week and they will pitch to a panel of judges at Portage Collegiate Institute on February 23, starting at 10:15. We are partnering with the Ventures program in the Business School at Portage Collegiate Institute, so we're expecting about eight teams, around 20 students, to be participating." 

This was held in a similar form when the Portage Innovation Centre first opened. A competition was opened to everyone, but they didn't have the partnership they now have. 

"We're expecting a lot more participation from contestants. The first time we did it, there were eight and it was under a different name," continues Moffat. "It was only Communities Building Youth Futures and Red River College partnering on it. So, we brought on some additional partners and we've got a lot more people who are going to be entering into the competition."

Moffat explains one of their partners, Communities Building Youth Futures, collected prize money. $100 will go to each of the top three business ideas or product ideas, as well as a paid entry into the Portage Innovation Centre. At the Centre, they will have full access to the Portage Innovation Centre free of charge, which is the Fab Lab as well as the Entrepreneur in Residence space.

"It was about a year and a half ago and we did the first competition and some of the business and product ideas that were pitched included one individual who was doing scented candles. There was another that was doing scented oils, there was a custom writing service, and that individual actually went on to develop and write a book, even though it was for themselves rather than for a customer. There was also an idea of having a local venture corporation to fund business start-ups in Portage la Prairie." 

He shares his great appreciation for the partners who've come in on this project with the college. 

"We've got a great panel of judges from the different organizations that are helping to organize this. I'm really looking forward to the partnership with the business program that's happening at Portage Collegiate Institute and it's going to be fantastic to see what the students are coming up with. I'm really quite excited about it."