Wednesday August 20, 2014





TRU student chosen for elite biz challenge

A Thompson Rivers University student will spend the next four months developing a smartphone application business, along with three other Canadian students, as part of a national entrepreneurship challenge.

Amy Berard returned from Toronto Sunday as one of 36 elite young Canadian students chosen to be part of the Next 36.

Titled Canada's Entrepreneurial Challenge, it is the brainchild of Reza Satchu, whom the Financial Post said has been called the "jerk millionaire professor" and "Toronto's answer to Donald Trump."

The University of Toronto professor and three partners put together the initiative to set Canada's brightest young business minds on a task with an air of a reality series.

Berard will also spend four months at University of Toronto this summer in what has been described as an entrepreneurial boot camp.

On the weekend she was teamed up with a University of B.C. sociology student, a University of Toronto finance student and a University of Waterloo computing science student for the task.

The group is one of nine teams, all comprising students who won entry to the challenge.

"It was a very intense and challenging weekend," Berard said. "He (Satchu) gave us a lecture right off the bat. There's no messing around. You have to be fully prepared."

During her time at TRU, Berard has helped propel Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) to be one of the campus's most active clubs, involved in everything from helping Kamloops businesses to teaching people with brain injury about managing money.

With her background in project management, Berard has been voted as manager of her team. They have been given phones, calling credits, video-conferencing facilities and $50,000 in cash and services to develop a mobile app.

Two senior people in Canadian business have been appointed as mentors of Berard's team.

"They've given their time and money because they believe in our ability," said Berard, a third-year TRU business student who moved to Kamloops from her hometown of Smithers to attend school here.

Berard said the group will be given an opportunity to go public with its mobile application and form a company to promote it, including seeking more capital.





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