Would-be entrepreneurs have until Friday, Oct. 30 to pitch their business ideas to experts at Georgian College who can help turn dreams into reality. The college's annual exCite! competition is now underway.

exCite! gives participants the chance to discuss their invention, product, product improvement or idea with a friendly panel of experts.

Each participant receives expert advice around such topics as next steps, networking opportunities, links to valuable resources, free admission to a MaRS Discovery District pitch workshop at Georgian's Barrie Campus on Wednesday, Nov. 4, as well as the chance to win great prizes.

The first place winner receives $2,500 cash, second place an iPad Mini, and third place, a Visa gift card valued at $150.

The Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre (HBEC) at Georgian will provide follow-up support to participants through mentorship, networking opportunities, additional training and workshops, and access to funding.

The exC!te experience is a free event, open to students, community members and young people from throughout Georgian's catchment area – Barrie, Orillia, Collingwood, Midland, Muskoka, Owen Sound and Orangeville. Applicants are invited to make a video submission if they prefer, but this is not required.

Can exC!te really help launch a successful business? Just ask Shelby Taylor and Jon Grootveld.

Taylor, owner of a Stayner health food shop, had an idea more than a year ago to create healthier and more nutrient-rich foods for children. Her initial product, Chickapea, is a pasta made with chickpea flour. She entered her pitch in the 2014 exC!te competition and emerged as the winner. Taylor was mentored by angel investors and received investment in her company. She launched her business and is currently in the process of expanding her manufacturing and activities.

Grootveld, a Georgian College student, took an abstract idea and turned it into a plausible product and business model.

Grootveld has a strong passion for social entrepreneurship and bettering the community and environment. His commitment to these ideals led to the creation of Big Fresh Fields, a farm to consumer business which he hopes will deliver a unique local organic food experience.

Grootveld is a frequent user of resources available at HBEC as well as an exC!te participant. Assistance in writing a business plan, branding advice, and mentorship helped him continue to develop his business.

"Walking through the HBEC doors changed my life," he said. "HBEC guided me on my entrepreneurial walk and has given me the necessary tools to make my dreams come true."

For full details on exC!te and to apply for the competition, visit

source: media release, Georgian College


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