By Vanessa Marciano
Humber has a plan to help students build their own jobs by starting new businesses. Like a mini Dragon’s Den, HumberLaunch is looking to help student entrepreneurs with money and mentoring.
HumberLaunch is returning for a second year with the LaunchPad competition, giving students a chance to win a share of $40,000 to get their businesses started.
The competition formally known as Friendly Fire Pitch, gave away $40,000 split among five teams last year. Winning start ups included online sharing and collaborating on original music, a jewelry company, dance studio, rooftop farming, and a fitness camp.
LaunchPad is just one service offered to both student and graduate entrepreneurs by the HumberLaunch Incubator. Resources including funding, business development, as well as mentoring and one-on-one assistance with faculty members and those already in the industry.
Cheryl Mitchell, HumberLaunch’s program manager said, “We’ve probably helped over 30 businesses start up so far.” She spoke at Humber’s North campus yesterday and the Lakeshore campus today, giving students information on the competition.
LaunchPad’s application deadline is January 24, and winners will be announced on March 7, 2014. A live competition will take place on March 22.
LaunchPad has a similar approach on a smaller scale to CBC’s television reality show Dragon’s Den. The show offers aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch business ideas to a panel of business moguls in the hopes of securing finance funds.
CBC Toronto Community tweeted Humber College, seeking young entrepreneurs to come out to their auditions.
In preparation for its new season, Dragon’s Den auditions start up Jan. 18 in Toronto from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at CBC, located at 250 Front St. West. In person auditions will continue to trail across the country with more than 40 stops in various Canadian cities. Candidates can also audition through an online application.
Michelle MacMillan, Dragon’s Den producer, said every season the show has a student special, so they specifically make sure to let students know that they are always more than welcome to join in on the auditions.
“The dragons are all self-made millionaires so they all started off not wanting to work for anyone when they were young, so they kind of see themselves in the young entrepreneurs,” MacMillan said.