The registration page for this year’s hybrid kickoff weekend being held at Bow Valley College and online via Zoom will be opened on Monday, April 8th.

The kick-off weekend is where contestants (eligible students* who are first-time entrepreneurs**) chosen to represent their school in the 150 Startups $25,000 Pitch Competition kick off their participation in the $50,000 Lean Startup Challenges.

During the kick-off weekend, contestants will team up with other participants who are aspiring entrepreneurs and other students to validate their business idea further and compete in a crowd-favourite pitch competition.

We start on Friday evening by sharing the top 10 mistakes first-time entrepreneurs make. Then Saturday morning, we help aspiring entrepreneurs, startups, and early-stage companies avoid those mistakes so they can take their idea to the next level, participants then spend Saturday afternoon validating a business idea, and we finish on Sunday morning with presentations from each team and a session titled the ten steps to getting funded.

This event is open to the public and is ideal for those looking to:

  • Avoid building a product or service nobody wants
  • Identify the ideal customers for a product or service
  • Create a value proposition that generates instant interest
  • Avoid the ten mistakes that many first-time entrepreneurs make
  • Learn what investors are looking for and what it takes to get a new business idea funded

This is the kick-off weekend for the summer skills development program that is part of a province-wide student entrepreneurship initiative called 150 Startups.

During the summer skills development program, some of Alberta’s most promising first-time entrepreneurs are given cash to improve their business ideas while preparing for a provincial pitch competition that last year awarded $25,000 in cash at the Innovation Rodeo and $36,000 US in scholarships to Silicon Valley’s top entrepreneurship program.

* ELIGIBLE STUDENTS are defined as first-time entrepreneurs** who are a) post-secondary students that are currently taking three or more courses at one of Alberta’s publicly funded colleges or universities, b) currently taking a minimum of one course from one of Alberta’s publicly funded colleges or universities and have taken at least three courses during the last 12 months from one of Alberta’s publicly funded colleges or universities, or c) have graduated from one of Alberta’s publicly funded colleges or universities within the last 12 months.

** FIRST-TIME ENTREPRENEURS are defined as those who have not previously started a company that a) sold more than $10,000, b) taken a loan of $10,000 or more, or c) raised more than $10,000 in capital/equity funding.

Session Descriptions

The Top 10 Mistakes First-Time Entrepreneurs Make

As the founder of China’s massive Alibaba (Jack Ma) says, “You learn nothing by learning what successful entrepreneurs did well, You learn more by learning and avoiding the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make. This session will share the “top 10 mistakes entrepreneurs make”.

Nailing the Problem

Having a great idea for a product or service is not a guarantee of success. 42% of startups and early-stage businesses fail because not enough people want what is being sold. This session will help you avoid being part of that statistic by helping participants identify a problem people will gladly pay to have solved.

Identifying Your Ideal Client

Now you know a problem you can solve, you need to identify who is the user and who is the ideal client – they are not the same thing – and reach ideal clients when they are most likely to become your customer.

Creating a Compelling Value Proposition

Now you have identified the problem you solve and a client who will pay, you need to create a compelling value proposition that creates instant interest in what you do. Something that gets people to ask, “How do you do that?”

10 Steps to Getting Funded

This session will share what funders are looking for in entrepreneurs and their businesses, how to deliver a high-impact pitch, and how to avoid the eight red flags that kill funding opportunities.


The winner of a Global Billion Dollar Idea Competition, who was also the CEO of a company twice chosen by Dow Jones as one of the 50 most promising startups in North America.

A co-founder and advisor to multiple Canadian StartUps that have grown to tens of millions of dollars in revenue – one of them currently has revenue of over $100 Million and is still growing!

One of Alberta’s most knowledgeable Lean Canvas facilitators created an accelerator based on Ash Maurya’s Lean Canvas model.

An aspiring student entrepreneur who went from having an idea nobody wanted to winning a $100,000 pitch competition to now being a Lean Startups Advisor that is an expert in assumption testing.