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Students aim to impress in biz challenge

Business administration students Alena Saliyeva, right, and Jake Easton pitch their idea for their shuttle transport business to a panel at Brandon University on Saturday afternoon.

BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

Business administration students Alena Saliyeva, right, and Jake Easton pitch their idea for their shuttle transport business to a panel at Brandon University on Saturday afternoon.

Imagine if you could order groceries straight from your smartphone and pick them up whenever you feel like it.

It’s not a new idea, but two Brandon University business administration students who did a lot of research into the idea says it won’t work in slow-to-change Brandon.

It’s more of a Winnipeg thing.

Siddharth Santdasani, 21, and Kyle Davis, 22, made up one of 10 teams of business administration students who pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges over the weekend.

The 30-minute investor-pitch style presentation was simply a school project (worth a whopping 40 per cent of their final grade) and the budding capitalists spent the last three months combing through each detail of the business plan.

The virtual grocery store plan is simple. Through an app, a smartphone user can browse the offerings, pay, and set a time to pick up the order on the same day at a drive-up, centrally-located warehouse.

From the small details such as business hours, to big challenges like competition, each team plead its case and was then grilled by the panel.

So after three months of market research, Santdasani and Davis — some of the school’s brightest business students — feel like they have a good handle on the city’s grocery market, but don’t see their app-driven grocery store seeing success in the Wheat City.

"In Brandon, I don’t know if we’d be as comfortable doing it," Davis said.

"It’s a conservative population," he said. "The population isn’t necessarily older, but I like to say they have an older sense of thinking."

A similar plan would "absolutely" work in Winnipeg, Santdasani said.

But they’re not banking on this idea anyway — it’s just a project. Many of the small 2014 class of B.B.A students already have jobs lined up after graduation, including Santdasani, who will gladly sell you mutual funds at Royal Bank next year.

Chase Critchlow and Justin Birin, who pitched a singles party planning business for the project, also have accounting jobs waiting for them at the end of school.

BU business Prof. Michael Malazdrewicz said the B.B.A students have to meet a higher standard than other business students at the school, and these are "the best of the best."

Some students who pitched their fictional businesses over the weekend may have plans to make them a reality, Malazdrewicz said.

These highly-detailed business plans were written as if the students were approaching investors, so each presentation included an overview, potential competition, weaknesses, and how much money up front was needed to get up and running.

"No matter how detailed the plans are, we are going to beat them up and challenge their weak spots," Malazdrewicz said.

» gbruce@brandonsun.com

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 2, 2013

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Imagine if you could order groceries straight from your smartphone and pick them up whenever you feel like it.

It’s not a new idea, but two Brandon University business administration students who did a lot of research into the idea says it won’t work in slow-to-change Brandon.

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Imagine if you could order groceries straight from your smartphone and pick them up whenever you feel like it.

It’s not a new idea, but two Brandon University business administration students who did a lot of research into the idea says it won’t work in slow-to-change Brandon.

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