In Redeemer’s very own version of the popular Canadian television show Dragon’s Den, four pairs of students finished off their term by presenting startup business plans to Christian entrepreneurs. The fourth-year business students presented their imaginative ventures to six different “dragons” — three dragons on April 11 and three on April 12. While some of the business plans and investments were fictional, the networking opportunities and experiential learning was anything but.
Throughout their pitches, Redeemer students showed their chops as creative culture-makers. The business plans, drawn from students’ personal passions and work experiences, included a bed and breakfast concept, a digital media creation company, a diesel engine repair shop and a niche landscaping venture.
Experiencing the pressure of a real-life, real-time presentation is no easy task for students, but the participation is worthwhile. “Learning from the constructive feedback of wise advisors allows students to find new creative opportunities to pursue in service of His Kingdom,” said Dr. Vahagn Asatryan, associate professor of business, course instructor and organizer of the event. “Students receive practical and direct critique and encouragement from seasoned business people as they prepare to start and join ventures after they graduate.”
“When you put a few people together the cumulative results and learning always exceeds the individual.”
The event was a learning experience not only for students, but for the “dragons” as well. “When you put a few people together the cumulative results and learning always exceeds the individual,” reflected Mike Reinders of Maple Reinders Group, an engineering and construction company based out of Mississauga, Ont. Other “dragons” included Alan Beech and John Brereton of Canadian Auto Repair Holdings Inc., Lorna Dueck of Crossroads Global Media Group, Bob Izsak of Izsak Consulting and Pamela Shaw of Almex Group.
Mike advocates for Christian businesspeople of all ages to seek mentoring relationships. “I’m part of a business mentoring group, but also part of a couple of Christian men’s groups where we not only study the Bible, but share and learn and mentor each other about working in the world as Christian businessmen. There are many Christian business people who could offer mentoring services, but really do not have the avenue for it.”
“Experiential learning events like ‘Dragon’s Den’ provide a strong foundation for the development of sustainable mentoring relationships between business practitioners and students,” said Dr. Asatryan. A pilot mentorship program that matches senior business students with business professionals will be starting in the fall of 2017. Interested parties can contact Dr. Vahagn Asatryan at email@example.com.