A QuikBite of Hong Kong
Three students from the University of Manitoba’s Asper School of Business placed in the Top 20 finalist round of the PolyU Innovation and Entrepreneurship Global Student Challenge. The PolyU is an international business plan competition that invites the world’s bright young entrepreneurs to participate in an academic, cultural and professional exchange. This year’s competition took place in Hong Kong in June.
The competition offers a rare opportunity to turn ideas into real-world products and services. Kathleen Gerber, Ishu Kapoor and Jose Neves stood out from among 250 global applicants with their idea for a mobile app that would streamline the lunch-purchasing process for professionals and students.
The service – called QuikBite – will allow users to pre-order and pre-pay for food at restaurants and eliminate long waits, explains Gerber.
“We hope to start in a small target market we feel is ripe for this service. If it proves successful, we’ll scale our business plan worldwide in incremental steps. We see QuikBite as the next step in technological life-style aid in a world where everyone is on the go.”
The students say the PolyU helped them hone their business plan, which they presented to a panel of esteemed judges representing the technology and advertising industries in Asia and a professor from the United Kingdom.
“We learned that our presentation skills were our strongest suit, and the judges were impressed with our ability to deliver such a clear and concise presentation. They mentioned it was one of the best they saw.”
Gerber, who graduates this fall, says the competition also gave her and her teammates the opportunity to improve their understanding of cultural norms in different parts of the world, and offered insights that will “greatly benefit us as we cross the bridge from academia into the globally interconnected business world in the near future.”
While they were in Hong Kong, the students had plenty of time to join other international teams in taking in the sights, including Victoria Peak, the highest mountain on Hong Kong Island. Adjusting to the city’s fast pace proved an easier challenge than adapting to the 45-degree weather, but the cuisine made up for all: “Some of our favorites were traditional breakfast of rice noodle, Taiwanese noodles, egg waffle and black sesame ice cream.”
Gerber says she and her teammates expected the odds of qualifying for this unique global competition to be slim to none – right up until their names were announced to the Top 20. The lesson there, she says, is simple: “Seize every opportunity, no matter how small your chances seem.”