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Five Olds College students in finals of ag business competition

The winner will be named on April 13, the day of the finals
MVT Olds College front building
Five Olds College students have been named semi-finalists in the second annual UFA (United Farmers of Alberta Co-operative) Student Pitch Competition. File photo/MVP Staff

OLDS — The pressure is now really on for five Olds College students who have been named semi-finalists in the second annual UFA (United Farmers of Alberta Co-operative) Student Pitch Competition.

Daniel Stefner, Kenneth Deocampo, Lauren McKamey, Styn Nieuwenhuis and Tristen Norman are now sharpening their pitches for the finals, which will be held April 13. The winner will be announced that same day.  

The pitch competition is a Dragon’s Den-style event where each student is given an opportunity to pitch their business model to a panel of judges. 

The winning pitch may have the opportunity to receive financial support to commercialize their idea or product with UFA.

As part of their entry into the competition, students were asked to present a business model including an innovative agricultural idea. 

Each student received a $500 UFA reward, a $1,000 tuition credit and will be matched with an industry expert and mentor to help build out their business models for pitch day.

There’s precedent for the winner to come from Olds College.

Last year, Kadeema Jean, a fourth-year student in the Bachelor of Applied Science Agribusiness program at Olds College, won the competition with her pitch for DomCan Biodegradables. 

Since then, Jean has completed her program, is employed with UFA, and is working towards further developing her company.

“We are very excited to partner with UFA once again to offer our students this incredible opportunity to develop their innovative ideas,” says Olds College president Stuart Cullum.

“Last year’s pitch competition really showcased the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of our students at Olds College. 

“I am looking forward to hearing from our semi-finalists at this year’s competition. I would also like to thank UFA for their commitment to investing in the future of agriculture innovation and education.”

“Both of our organizations believe strongly in the power of innovation. We know that some of the best ideas come from young people and we are excited about this particularly unique project and the promise it holds for Alberta’s agriculture industry,” says Rob Giguere, vice-president of livestock services and market strategy at UFA.

“We look forward to continuing to support the future leaders in agriculture and we are excited to hear the semi-finalists pitch their ideas in April.”

— With files from Blayne Meek, director of corporate communications and marketing at Olds College.