Students’ ideas take off in elevator

An elevator ride has turned into a trip to New York City for Laura Allard and Desirae Davidson.

An elevator ride has turned into a trip to New York City for Laura Allard and Desirae Davidson.

The Red Deer College business students are in the Big Apple this week for the World Business Forum, an annual summit that’s ranked among the most influential venues for CEOs and executives.

Allard, who is in her fourth year of the bachelor of business administration program and Davidson, a second-year bachelor of commerce student, earned the trip last spring when they won an RDC Donald School of Business competition called The Big Idea.

Contestants were asked to deliver a 30-second elevator pitch about a business idea — with the presentations made literally in an elevator, at the Donald School of Business’s downtown campus.

“We rode the elevator about 20 times with 20 different students and there were some incredible ideas,” said Garett Cupples, president of GenTex Oilfield Manufacturing Inc. of Red Deer and one of the business school’s “entrepreneurs-in-residence.”

“I was very impressed with the students’ pitches.”

Also in the elevator judging the presentations was Darcy Mykytyshyn, dean of the Donald School Business. He thinks Allard and Davidson’s prize is a valuable one.

“We see the trip to the World Business Forum as a fantastic networking opportunity for our students, who will be exposed to a different type of education, getting an up-close look at the corporate world.”

Speakers at the forum, which takes place today and Wednesday at Radio City Music Hall, include Gordon Brown, Britain’s former prime minister; Jack Welch, whom Fortune magazine named manager of the century; and more than a dozen other high-profile presenters.

“This competition is significant for two reasons,” said Mykytyshyn, who accompanied the students to the forum. “It’s about applied learning in the real world for our students and it’s also about our community partners stepping up and wanting to be part of mentoring our learners by offering them unique opportunities.”

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