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Aspiring entrepreneurs learn to pitch business ideas in Kelowna

Okanagan entrepreneurs are getting a chance to practice pitching their business plans to experienced startup advisors. Kimberly Davidson reports.

Aspiring entrepreneurs pitched business ideas to expert investors in a mock trial run at the Okanagan coLab on Thursday.

The goal of the “Hot Seat” event was to give new entrepreneurs feedback on their ideas, so they are successful when they’re actually pitching for cash.

Panel member Grant Lawrence is with a group of investors called Valhalla Angels, which supports startups both financially and through mentorship.

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“We give them lots of feedback and say: ‘Here’s what you’re going to be asked by investors; here’s what you need to change’,” Lawrence said.

“We ask some really hard questions to get them to think differently, and ideally to get them to move forward,” he added.

New entrepreneurs typically go through different rounds of getting money, Lawrence said.

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“One will be their own pockets, maybe their credit cards will be maxed out, and then friends and family,” he said.

“And then they can’t get to the banks yet, so that’s where these angel groups come in. That’s individual investors that say ‘I’m going to believe in you. I’m going to help you out’.”

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To be successful, panel judges encouraged participants to state the problem they’re trying to solve early in the pitch.

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