Activities & Schedule

Program overview

September to April: Alberta’s Colleges and Universities run on-campus activities to expose students to Entrepreneurship as a viable career option. Those interested in becoming an entrepreneur can register their business idea and start working on the 10 steps to turn their idea into a business. At the end of April, each school selects who it thinks is their most promising first-time entrepreneur.

May & June: Those chosen by their post-secondary institution as the most promising first-time entrepreneur can participate in a summer skills development program. The skills development program starts with a Lean Startup Kick-off where students and aspiring entrepreneurs learn and apply the Lean Startup method and the Business Model Canvas. The summer skills development program then continues with twice-weekly web meetings.

June to August: Each school’s choice has the opportunity to compete for cash. The cash is made available through in a series of Lean Startup Challenges, regional pitch-offs and a final provincial pitch-off.

It is the intent of the program that when the following fall semester begins each school’s choice then returns on campus as a part-time Student Entrepreneur-in-Residence to inspire the next batch of 150 first-time entrepreneurs and help those from prior years to continue developing their business.


$10,000 Giveaway

The $10,000 giveaway provides aspiring first-time entrepreneurs at Alberta’s 26  colleges and universities the opportunity to win up to $10,000  for taking seven initial steps of turning their idea into a business.

On-Campus Presentations

A series of presentations that are broadcasted live from post-secondary schools across the province, so others can watch, are recorded for future use.

Topics include:

  • Ten Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs
  • Ten Steps to Turn an Idea Into a Business
  • Nailing Your Pitch on the First Try
  • Will It Fly: How to Know if Your Idea Has Wings

Ask Me Anything (AMA) Sessions

Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions where students can ask questions about 150 Startups, the $10,000 Giveaway, the Lean Startup Challenges, the pitch competition during the Innovation Rodeo or anything related to starting a business. The AMA sessions run Wednesdays from 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM and are accessed via the web meeting link

Kick off Weekend

May 4-6″ The most promising first-time entrepreneurs as chosen by Alberta’s Colleges and Universities converge in Calgary for a weekend long event where they validate their business idea with the assistance of a team of other aspiring entrepreneurs from across the province.

Lean Startup Challenges

Lean Startups Challenges allow the first-time entrepreneurs chosen from each College or University have the opportunity to earn cash rewards by completing three different challenges that help first-time entrepreneurs turn their ideas into revenue generating businesses within six months of the kick-off weekend.

Pitch Competition

The first-time entrepreneurs chosen from each College or University have the opportunity to win cash in four regional pitch competitions held at the Innovation Rodeo which is held in Calgary during the Calgary Stampede. The winners of each regional pitch competition then compete for the Grand Prize in the provincial pitch competition is held the final day of the Innovation Rodeo.