Three student entrepreneur teams split $45,000 in the UPEI Panther Pitch
Three teams of student entrepreneurs will split $45,000 in start-up funding in the first ever UPEI Panther Pitch competition. The winning teams are Chow Time Pet Foods Inc. (made up of students Andrew Weeks and Zack Montreuil), LocalBuys (Shion Phelan), and PathCan Consulting Inc. (Nooshin Abedi Dorcheh Abedi, Ali Ravaghi, and Jesse Champion).
“Our students in this competition did an exceptional job, and they should be very proud,” said Matthew Pauley, assistant professor of entrepreneurship at UPEI and one of the event co-organizers. “The diversity of the business ideas is encouraging, and the focus on supporting the local economy is important for building sustainable PEI communities.”
The Panther Pitch competition began with 25 teams in January and was whittled down to just seven for the semi-finals, held virtually last week. The semi-finalist teams made their final pitches, including a live Q&A session, to a panel of three judges. The panel selected the three winning teams. The three winning teams will each receive a minimum $5,000 start-up grant, the amount of which will be decided through further consultation with the teams on their detailed plans and financials. Each team member also took home $500.
The Panther Pitch competition is part of the Harry W. MacLauchlan Entrepreneurship Program. Harry W. MacLauchlan (1926–2002) combined his entrepreneurial initiative, work ethic, business judgment, and people skills with a deep commitment to his family, community, and province. The MacLauchlan family has endowed an award to help advance and encourage entrepreneurial students at UPEI to build innovative ventures that will grow and benefit Prince Edward Island communities.
More about the winning teams
Chow Time Pet Foods Inc. is a pet food manufacturer, aiming to bring new healthy products to the market. Chow Time’s mission is to help keep all dogs happy and healthy by improving the way people engage with their animal friends through wholesome products and strong connections. Chow Time’s first product is KibbleDrizzle, which is a flavour and nutrition enhancer for kibble. Chow Time will be pursuing the expansion of its original Kibble Drizzle flavour into a diverse product line.
LocalBuys is a delivery service smartphone app aimed at supporting local business. Local businesses all over the world have been impacted by COVID-19. Even before the pandemic, local business sales were being heavily hit by e-commerce giants like Amazon, Walmart, and eBay. Now with closures and sudden lockdowns threatening businesses from operating, delivery service apps have been increasing extraordinarily in popularity. With this, there is one problem: delivery service apps are expensive. Vendors make insignificant margins on products in a time where sales are at an all-time low. With delivery service giants like Skip the Dishes, Grab, and DoorDash, vendors can expect to pay 16–32 per cent per transaction. LocalBuys offers some of the most affordable transaction rates in Canada, with a 15 per cent transaction fee per order and a $15 per month service fee. The transaction fee is split, with the vendor paying 7 per cent and the consumer 8 per cent.
PathCan Consulting Inc. is a student recruitment company that provides free-of-charge counseling to students. PathCan goes beyond the typical student recruitment companies to ensure client needs are met beyond just acceptance at the chosen university. PathCan also helps find living accommodations, informs clients of mental health services provided locally, and provides additional resources to improve students' proficiency in the English language. These services help separate the company from its main competitors in the industry.
Watch all the video pitches for the seven semi-finalist teams here.
Congratulations to the winning teams!