Olds College students to move forward to UFA Pitch Competition
United Farmers of Alberta Co-operative Ltd. (“UFA”) is pleased to announce that the selection committee has chosen the semi-finalists for the UFA Innovation Day. Finalists will be announced publicly next week!
The semi-finalists will move forward to the Pitch Competition taking place in March. Each student will receive a $500 UFA reward and will be matched with an industry expert and mentor to help build out their business models for pitch day! The Pitch is a dragon’s den style competition where each student will be given an opportunity to pitch their business model to a panel of judges. The winning pitch will have the opportunity to receive financial support to commercialize their idea or product with UFA.
“We were very pleased with the quality of submissions that we received,” explains Rob Giguere, Vice President, Commercial Agribusiness at UFA. “From the submissions, the selection committee, comprised of senior members across all lines of business at UFA, were able to identify those business model canvases who best fit the judging criteria. We are very excited for the next phase of this project and to see how the students develop their ideas leading up to the Pitch!”
“While we have a rich history as a 110-year-old agriculture co-operative, we also believe strongly in the power of innovation. We know that some of the best ideas come from young people which is why our partnership with Olds College is such a great fit. We look forward to continuing to support the future leaders in agriculture right here at Olds College!” said Giguere.
In October of last year, UFA announced a five-year, $500,000 commitment to Olds College and its focus on agriculture innovation and technology. UFA Innovation Day and the Pitch competition are pieces of the partnership which also includes funding the Olds College Smart Farm and the UFA Innovation Lab.
"Not only is the donation from UFA an investment in the student experience but it's an investment in the future of agriculture," says Stuart Cullum, President, Olds College. "Through UFA Innovation Day, students who have a keen interest in solving issues in the agriculture industry are able to explore their ideas and solutions, and ultimately express their entrepreneurial creativity in ways that will make a positive impact on Alberta’s agriculture sector."
The partnership brings together two long-standing advocates with rich agricultural history in the province. Founded as an agricultural co-operative in 1909, UFA works to improve the economic and social well-being of its member-owners and their communities. Olds College opened its doors in 1913 as an educational institution and today is known for high-tech, hands-on agriculture education and innovative applied research that lays the foundation for solving real-world problems in farming, food and land. Both organizations are excited about this particularly unique project and the promise it holds for Alberta’s agriculture industry.
Congratulations to all of the semi-finalists on submitting compelling and interesting business ideas and for being selected to move forward with your projects! Watch for the semi-finalist announcement coming soon!