Ideas with Impact
UNB Faculty of Management

Results from the Largest Business Plan Competition in Canada

Author: Liz Lemon-Mitchell

Posted on Feb 7, 2020

Category: Programs , Students , IBEC

What began over two decades ago as a small competition for the best business plan in an entrepreneurship course at UNB has become a national event for university students across Canada.

In the early 2000's, the Faculty of Management moved the competition out of the classroom to create an Atlantic competition, and in the past ten years since BMO Financial Group began sponsoring, it has attracted student teams from one side of Canada to the other.

This year the BMO Financial Group APEX Business Plan Competition broke a new record with 34 teams representing 11 Canadian business schools. Schools attending for the first time included McGill, Queen’s, McMaster and Manitoba. Among those returning were St. Mary’s, Acadia, St. Thomas, Waterloo and British Columbia.

In a brand-new track for 2020, students in UNB’s new first-year BBA course, Business Planning and Entrepreneurship pitched a business plan they developed throughout the term. The top prize in this category went to the team who tackled parking problems at UNB with a solution called Parking Wizards. Kelsey Embleton, one of the students who competed in this track said APEX was a great learning experience for her. “The atmosphere was welcoming and you could tell how determined all the teams were.”

Over $20,000 in cash prizes were awarded to the top three teams from both the undergraduate and graduate streams. Team FlutterLet from the University of British Columbia went home with the top prize in the graduate track, while Team Bloxo from Saint Mary’s took first prize in the Undergraduate track. McGill won first place for the best Elevator Pitch with Unfuuds, and UNB’s GreenSource won second place.

Other highlights this year included a keynote address by Jeff Alpaugh (CEO of World’s Most Dangerous Shirts), a panel moderated by Krista Ross (CEO of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce), and student mentorship from entrepreneurs Barry Bison (CEO of Propel ICT), Aimee Foreman (CEO of Silvermark) and Jeff Thompson (VP M&A with Verint Customer Engagement Solutions).

“APEX is one of the best times of the year at UNB,” said Devashis Mitra, Dean of the Faculty of Management. “Over the years it has helped to build a strong community of student entrepreneurs in the region and across the country. Events like APEX are so important because they encourage students to act on their business ideas and inspire them to help others do the same.”

A few former APEX winners came back this year to help out:  Jenna Evans, a 2019 BBA graduate of UNB and one of the winners last year helped judge the competition and delivered a speech during the Gala Awards Dinner; and Hannah Chisholm, a graduate of St. Francis Xavier who won top prize a few years ago for Eggcitables, also judged some of the rounds.

APEX is organized by the International Business and Entrepreneurship Centre (IBEC) within the Faculty along with a strong team of dedicated student volunteers from our business programs. 

Photo: Members of UNB Team Green Source who won second place for Best Elevator Pitch at the 2020 BMO Financial Group Business Plan Competition.