March 1, 2016
An app that connects users with events happening nearby won the $2,500 cash prize at Enactus Memorial’s Innovation Challenge recently.
“The initial idea for the app actually came about a few years ago when I used to organize parties and DJ,” said Ola King, founder of the event hub app called Sweeft. “I always wished there was a quicker and more efficient way to promote my events and keep people up-to-date while on a low budget but I never thought it was something that I could do myself.”
With some encouragement from friends, Mr. King began to think of ways to connect busy students with things that were happening around them.
“I thought there should be a way to connect those event organizers that were looking to reach their audience with people who wanted a quick way to see what was happening nearby.”
Mr. King, a computer science student at Memorial who minors in business, won the start-up cash provided by Cox and Palmer as well as a free year in LaunchPad, a business incubation centre for student entrepreneurs.
The Innovation Challenge, now in its ninth year, offers student entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their businesses to a panel of business experts from the LaunchPad advisory board. Finalists are evaluated on their business ideas, growth and vision and their capacity to use the start-up funding and resources offered by LaunchPad.
Cox and Palmer has been involved with the Innovation Challenge since it began in 2007 and participates in the judging process.
“In considering each candidate, innovation is certainly a critical factor. In addition though, [the judges] look for viable businesses that are suitable in our current business environment,” said Anna Cook, a partner with the law firm. “The Innovation Challenge isn’t just a competition to see who can think of the most creative business idea. It’s an opportunity for the business to gain wider exposure and possible investment. The judges look for businesses that are making progress and look to be on their way to success.”
Mr. King says he’s already seeing the benefits of winning the contest.
“Just last week while I was in Halifax, I introduced myself to a potential investor and he said he already knew who I was through the competition.”
The Innovation Challenge was held on Jan. 20.