During this last term, we attended a course on Entrepreneurial Business Plan Development, and our instructor was Cyri Jones (who also owns zenportfolios.com).
Cyri is quite experienced as an entrepreneur and it was very useful to gain insights from not only him, but various guest speakers and entrepreneurs that he brought into the class. He is also very in touch with local resources (Small Business BC, ARLO at BCIT, and more), which gave us a valuable insight into where we could go to get assistance with starting up a business.
Over the duration of the course, we were to do various projects around a business venture of our choice. My team decided that it would be interesting to see what would be involved in creating a franchise for something that is of constant demand, and chose the food industry, and more specifically, De Dutch. De Dutch is a pancake house that has locations all over British Columbia and had a lot of start-up financial data readily available. While choosing something like a franchise instead of a full-on start-up might seem like the “easy way out”, we realized we had to differentiate it somehow, so we looked at the possibility of implementing core Operations Management concepts further into the business as well as expanding menu language options and potentially even cuisine.
At the end of the course, we participated in an event called Grizzly’s Den (similar to Dragon’s Den, on TV) where we did an elevator pitch (3 minutes maximum, to pitch your business venture) to a panel of real entrepreneurs and angel investors. It was a bit nerve racking going up there, but it was quite a valuable experience! I enjoyed it because I got to understand what kinds of questions and concerns investors might have about a new start-up – not just in terms of our franchise, but there was a lot to be learned from how the judges reacted to the other elevator pitches that were presented that day.
So hats off to Cyri. I think the course was unique in that he attempted to make it a bit more dynamic and “on the fly” by implementing leading edge material as the course went on. This is not something that is easy to do, but there was definitely value in teaching the course that way.