Call out to entrepreneurs to enter RED Challenge

  • Sep. 19, 2012 2:55 p.m.

The call is out to local entrepreneurs looking to start up an innovative business.

Red Deer College in partnership with Red Deer Regional Economic Development, the City of Red Deer, Alberta Innovations and Community Futures Central Alberta, has launched the 2012 RED Challenge. This is the third year the challenge has run in the Central Alberta.

This contest is designed to support local entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas that have a technology, science or knowledge-based focus.

“We have all had at least one ‘ah-ha’ moment with a great business, app or web site idea, but often get stopped in our tracks by a lack of resources and guidance,” said Mike Szyszka, RED Challenge spokesperson. “This is about giving those ideas an opportunity to come to fruition. There are no losers here; every person who submits an idea will receive training and guidance to take their business idea from a dream to a plan.

“The criteria to enter was purposely left wide open. It just has to be an innovative business idea.”

The submission deadline is Oct. 12th at 4 p.m. The finalists will be selected on Oct. 26th and the winner will be announced in January.

Students of all ages who are currently enrolled in post secondary education, or who are no more than one year postgraduate, are invited to submit a brief description of their innovative business idea. Top entries will be selected as finalists and given guidance from Community Futures to develop their concept into a full-scale business plan.

Finalists will then present their plan to a panel of local business leaders, in a Dragon’s Den inspired format. The prize is $20,000 to jump-start their business, office space for a year and personal business mentoring and guidance.

Szyszka said they have seen a variety of business ideas in the past from apps and web sites to a coffee shop that offers knitting classes.

“It goes without saying that Central Alberta has entrepreneurial spirit and we can help fuel the passion that entrepreneurs have.”

Past winners have included an entrepreneur who wants to start a social media site for musicians to promote shows and sell CDs. That web site is still in development. Another winner opened a kiosk called Xico Solutions. The business repairs iPhones.

To learn more about Challenge, visit There you will find videos from mentors and former winners, timelines and full contest details. To submit a business idea to The RED Challenge, fill out the online entry form provided on the web site.