RED Challenge means cash for ideas

Nothing inspires entrepreneurs like a cheque with lots of zeros on it. That’s being proven by the 2013 RED Challenge, which offers a $20,000 payout for the best business idea with a technology, science or knowledge-based focus.

Nothing inspires entrepreneurs like a cheque with lots of zeros on it.

That’s being proven by the 2013 RED Challenge, which offers a $20,000 payout for the best business idea with a technology, science or knowledge-based focus.

“We are happy with the quality of submissions we are receiving this year so far,” said Alicia Cafferata, RED Challenge co-ordinator and project co-ordinator for Red Deer College’s applied research and innovation department.

“These young entrepreneurs in Central Alberta have some neat ideas.”

Toby Williams, director of entrepreneurship and international development at Olds College, agreed.

“We have seen lots of interest so far and are looking forward to watching the contest progress.”

Held annually, the RED Challenge is being organized by Red Deer College, Olds College, the City of Red Deer, Red Deer Regional Economic Development and Alberta Innovates. It’s open to students who are enrolled in a post-secondary institution, or have been within the past year.

Applications will be accepted until Oct. 11 at 4 p.m., with selected candidates asked to participate in a Community Futures business planning bootcamp later in the month and submit a business plan by Nov. 30. Finalists will then take part in presentation prep courses in December and then pitch their ideas to a panel of local business people in January.

In addition to the prize money with which to start their business, the winner will receive mentoring and support from Community Futures and office space at Red Deer College for a year.

Last year, Mike Kozlowski and Kristen Carlson won the RED Challenge for their Steel Pony Farm. It’s a small-scale agricultural operation that uses natural and organic methods to grow products for direct sale to consumers.

Additional information about the 2013 RED Challenge, including how to apply, can be found online at www.REDchallenge.ca.