Archive | Youth Organization

Go With what You Believe in…. Amit Tandon – - Senior Advisor of East Meets West at Wilfred Laurier

Posted on 28 July 2010 by .

Fourth year Wilfred Laurier business and communications student Amit Tandon stresses that in order for your dream to become a reality, you need to first visualize it. Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, he says “you must be the change you wish to see in the world”. He is a senior advisor of “East Meets West” dance group at Wilfred Laurier University. He passionately talks about the evolvement of his dance crew from when it was first established in 2003.

Having a smaller talent pool from which to pick dancers from in contrast to larger universities such as U of T or Waterloo, “East Meets West” had its fair deal of challenges. Often faced with no facility or funding through which to practice their dance routines, the students would often find themselves searching for empty spaces in the outdoors, using torch lights when it became too dark.  Despite all of these challenges “East Meets West” recently won awards for the best dance crew, best classical dance, best artistic director at the annual South Asian Alliance Culture Show- one of the biggest of its kind in North America. Pulling dance talent from all over Ontario, this culture show draws a pool of students who often travel five hours just for a chance to dance alongside their peers.


From being last place when they first begun, to becoming first place just recently- Amit asserts that “we found a way to turn our failures into successes…we won because of hard work and passion.”

“East Meets West” was primarily conceived to create a fusion of western and eastern culture on campus.  The group has received numerous awards on campus, such as one for being the most ‘active group’ and one for being the ‘most improved’. The group also takes part in many events around campus whether it is Holi, Diwali or  attending bazaars.

When asked what business and communications has to do with dance, Amit replies that it is important to do something that you enjoy. “It’s not always the pay, but what you believe in”. He explains how as a child he dreamt of being a Bollywood star, but his parents steered him to a more ‘realistic’ path, partly due to the fact that he could not speak Hindi too well. However, his experiences on campus brought back his passion for performance, and helped him succeed in completing his degree.

When asked about the ways in which “East Meets West” is involved in political or social issues on campus, Amit urges to not underestimate the significance of dance. Not only do dancing competitions raise money for causes such as the Canadian Cancer Society, but they provide experiences to learn about the diversity of South Asian culture- ranging from learning about the different costumes, productions, lifestyles within India but also all around Asia.

The biggest issue of our generation Amit asserts, is the dilemma of identity crisis- to both know and represent who you are.

One of the greatest gifts of being part of such a cultural dance show is to see how the different genres of music come together under one roof. A lot of people like to break up the genres and find differences within the music. The significance of dancing, Amit asserts, is that we visualize all of this music as one.

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Dream – Dream Big and It Will Come!

Posted on 23 June 2010 by .

After four years of discussing, planning, waiting, and much hard work, the lower level of 1652 Keele Street is finally now home to For Youth Initiative’s (FYI) new Community Youth Hub.  Fully furnished with brand new and functional equipment, this expansion serves as a space for youth to further develop socially, creatively and physically. The new space includes: a computer lab, a dance studio, a music recording studio, an activity hall, a kitchen, a meeting room, new office space, additional storage space, and outdoor amenities.

It all started in 2006 as a part of a visioning charette with a fourth year class from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, led by Professor Adrian Blackwell.  When asked what type of space would be most wanted in the community, the youth at FYI were quick to voice their wish list of wants and needs. With the initial architectural plans drawn up (for the whole of 1652 Keele Street) for renovation, FYI advocated for unused space for young people in the lower level to be opened up for community use.  In 2007, FYI was successful in securing an additional 4,000 square feet of space for programs and services.

After two more years of fundraising and a 9 month construction process, the young people in our community finally have a space to attend that’s designed, created, and available just for them.   What’s even more amazing? The new space was built not only FOR them, but ultimately BY them!  Yes, you read that right – as part of this unique project, FYI had a critical goal of making sure that young people living in the community, who were out of work and out of school, were trained and hired by the general contractor to build the new space.

Through the support of many key partners (Carpenters’ Local Union 27 Joint Apprenticeship & Training Trust Fund – Local 27, Gateway Cafe’s Get in Gear Program, Youth Employment Services’ Job Connect Program as well as the following City of Toronto divisions: Social Development, Finance, and Administration; Facilities and Real Estate Department; Human Resources; Fair Wage Office; Youth Employment Toronto; and Toronto Employment and Social Services) 10 youth were given an opportunity to go from being unemployed to a pre-apprentice in the trades industry.  The youth were certified in various safety areas including: WHIMIS, Hoist & Rigging, Fall Protection, Safety Express (Respirator), Aerial Tech (Scissor Lift) and Confined Spaces.  They also got to try out many different trades such as drywall, plastering, floors, painting, and more.  All the time they spent on the project are eligible to apply to the first year of an apprenticeship.

On April 30th,  FYI held an official open house to launch the new Community Youth Hub in the lower level of 1652 Keele Street. At the event, Mayor David Miller highlighted the project saying “This is the first time that the City of Toronto has linked its procurement practices to its commitment to community development and I would like to thank the youth of Weston – Mt. Dennis for leading the way.”  He went on to say “The City of Toronto used this project to test the idea that when we build something we should use it as a training opportunity for young people from the neighbourhood in which it’s built.”  FYI is greatly pleased to have led this process and hopes this precedence will be upheld with future projects.

This project could not of happened without the generous donation from the George and Rachel Kostman Family and the financial supports of the City of Toronto’s Partnership Opportunities Legacy (POL) fund and the Youth Challenge Fund.  The project was a success not only for the youth but also to our staff who are now able to provide astounding programs in a better space, with all the necessary tools present. Coming out of this project, it has increased the capacity of local youth and helped us handle the capacity of our program attendance. We have found that more regular participants are attending and also bringing their peers in to join programs. We invite all to stop in and see the new space and to meet the young people who now call it theirs.

Author:Lekan Olawoye, Executive Director,For Youth Initiative

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Social Awareness Through Art: The Green Youth Art Showcase

Posted on 19 May 2010 by .

With all the talk of climate change in the air (think of the recent Climate Change Summit at Copenhagen) and the United Nations’ latest decision to mark 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity, it came as no surprise when the Mississauga Arts Council (MAC) decided to keep this year’s theme of their annual youth art showcase event as “biodiversity”. Held at the Art Trax Gallery on 13th May, The Green Youth Art Showcase promised an evening of young talented artists from all over Mississauga.

The evening started with a visual art exhibit from students of West Credit Secondary School that shed light on different creative perspectives of young minds. A result of MAC’s recent initiative called “Biodiversity through Art Project”, the exhibit acted as windows to the artistic talents of West Credit youth. Every painting or photograph explored the diverse ways of representing biodiversity.

Mike Celia opened the “performing arts” part of the show with his own original songs. A singer/songwriter from Mississauga, Celia is already making waves in the local music scene. This part of the evening showcased youth who maintained the evening’s theme and tone through their songs and spoken word. While Shinjini Sur enacted “Today and Tomorrow”, Wali Shah captivated his audience through his ingenious rap. The other participants were equally talented, and even though most of them were in their teens, the maturity behind their works was an unexpected surprise. Fourteen year old Ariel Zaichick, for example, explains the rationale behind her original piece, “I wrote it to show that there is always help in the world. All we need to do is reach out and there is a hand to help you”. Seventeen year old Sahaj Shah, on the other hand, sang a song called “Breathe Again” which was her way to inspire people to want to make a difference in the world. But there was one student who managed to steal the show. Eighteen year old Sean Sroka’s song, performed while playing on his guitar, commanded the loudest applause in the room.

This dress was made by Fauzia Quddus from Glenforest Secondary School, Mississauga.

The real show-stopping event of the evening was, however, the fashion show that introduced Mississauga to the emerging fashion designer Dianne Debarros. MAC’s hope that the fashion show would “add a unique spin” to the evening was justified, as the crowd in the room were left spellbound at Debarros’s ability to create art out of recyclable materials.

In addition to the large turnout, the success of the evening was evident through the glowing, happy faces of the audience. Heather Brissenden, the Communications Co-ordinator at MAC was responsible for this stupendous initiative to bring together an evening of talent through a socially relevant theme. An initiative that is more than just commendable, as the community was exposed to local talent that exists right in its midst.

Author :Sanchari Sur

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Laurier Dance Team wins FIRST PLACE & BEST Dance Awards, in National Competition

Posted on 24 March 2010 by .

On Saturday March 13th 2010, the university of Wilfrid Laurier, won the Championship trophy, a trophy for Best Dance, an award for Best Classical and Best Artistic Directorial at the South Asian Alliance Culture Show. The SAA Culture Show (SAACS) is comprised not only of a dance component but also an artistic directorial component and spirit. The dance component requires teams to use all of the following genres of dance; Bollywood, bhangra, fusion and classical. The artistic directorial component requires teams to integrate props, sets, costumes, music and relate it to a main theme. Lastly, the spirit component involves students and other members of the community that are not dancers to put together a minute long piece that best describes a schools “spirit”. The spirit component also requires each team to consistently cheer throughout the show.

The East Meets West executive team, comprised of coordinators: Amit Tandon, Vishal Handa, and Nikita Joshi, responsible for heading the preparations for SAACS. Along with Choreographers; Bollywood – Karan Oberoi, Classical – Atri Nundy, Bhangra – Vishal Handa, and Hip Hop – Elicia Ramdhin, this team started planning for the competition early last April.

After reflecting on the successes and failures of the past five years of Laurier’s involvement in SAACS, we realized that our team’s biggest holdback was the lack of support from campus authorities. As a result, one of the main goals this year was to work towards earning the support around campus that was needed to be successful at the show. Likewise, finances have been a consistent issue with East Meets West each year, this year special efforts were put in to raise money. The executives prepared numerous presentations to pitch to student groups across campus that would be able to provide any help possible. Consequently, East Meets West received great responses from WLUSU – Campus Clubs, Adam Lawrence from the Diversity Committee, Peter Donahue from Laurier International and several other groups around campus. Without the help of these individuals and groups, the Laurier SAA Dance Team would not have been able to succeed at the Culture show this year.

Additionally, it shouldn’t be a surprise that our team was consecutively faced with many other challenges throughout the year; from not being able to build or store our 100 pounds of sets and props to complaints about the volume of our music.  It could be said that the hard work put into moving the 100 pounds of props and sets on and off campus daily, was one of the many things that motivated our team to continue to work harder and harder. It was almost as though after overcoming each challenge we wanted to see what more we could handle.

The success of our dancers came from the six months and hundreds of hours put in by the dancers, choreographers, stage hands and the executive to make our dance strong. The team was mostly comprised of first year students, many of who had never attended the culture show or performed on stage before. In order to help them perform better, we spent a good chunk of our time viewing other dance groups across the world and learning from their techniques and expressions in their own dances. Competing with various other student groups for practice space around campus, our team literally took any free space available and practiced as best as possible. From outside the Senate and Board, in front of Tim Horton’s, inside the basements of Residences; lack of space never stopped our team from practice.

Our achievement at the Culture show this year is proof enough that hard work does not go unnoticed. After four years of making mistakes and learning, Wilfrid Laurier’s SAA Dance Team was finally able to deliver an award winning performance and bring home the gold.  Again, the team would like to thank Wilfrid Laurier University, WLUSU – Campus Clubs, Dean of Students, Laurier International, Office of Student Diversity, and all of the sponsors, executives, and supporters for this year.

Author:Amit Tandon

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“Language & Power: The Word in Authority and Opposition.”

Posted on 17 March 2010 by .

Recently (March 5, 2010) South Asian Studies Students Association (SASSA) presented a panel at the University of Toronto, St. George campus on “Language & Power: The Word in Authority and Opposition.” The panel event was part of the ‘Language Series’ events, inspired by the Bangladeshi nationalist language movements marked by the Feb 21 Language Martyrs’ Day (now International Mother Language Day.) The panel was organized in an attempt to dissect the role of language in political movement.

From left to right: Keren Rice, Azfar Hussain (of Grand Valley State University, Michigan), Frank Cody, and Stella Sandahl at a panel on language, power, and resistance.

Panelists had an inter-disciplinary focus, and included Frank Cody with an Anthropology specialization, Stella Sandahl of Sanskrit, Azfar Hussain with an English specialization and Keren Rice from Aboriginal Studies. Frank Cody delved into the institutions behind the authority of the “standard” Tamil language, and the increasing space for colloquial forms in printed literature. Stella Sandahl spoke about the attempts to Sanskritize the Hindi language, and construct it as a symbolic “national” Indian language, alienating the Southern regions and non-Sanskrit (Persian, Arabic, Turkish) influences. Azfar Hussain spoke of the Bangladeshi response to the Pakistani state’s imposition of Urdu as the state language, despite it being spoken by a small élite. Keren Rice shed light on the history of Aboriginal languages in Canada, and their current status and focus. These panellists explored how, in a diversity of contexts, certain groups have asserted language, dialects, and bodies of literature at times as authoritative, and at other times as challenges to authority.

Guests at the events raised questions about governance and authority in language and literature. They also showed curiosity about India’s relatively successful multilingual model of governance, and the communication between languages.

The event was sponsored by the Arts and Science Students Union (ASSU) and the Centre for South Asian Studies (CSAS) from the University of Toronto.

Author:Naushad Ali Hussein

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Shaken Out of Complacency | A Play staged by Bangladeshi Student Association of UofT

Posted on 17 March 2010 by .

On Saturday, March 13th, the Bangladeshi Students’ Association at the University of Toronto hosted their 12th Annual Cultural Show, Barongbar. The show took place at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. The theme this year was set in a typical, middle class, Bangladeshi colony, where every person’s life is the same every single day. They all aspire for change, but circumstances and poverty restrict them from achieving their dreams.  Eventually, when the change does come, it comes in the form of a government eviction notice. All of a sudden the people of the colony start resisting change. They plan to stop the government from throwing them out of their houses, but sadly they fail. In the end, when shaken out of their core, they are determined to use it positively and finally take a step towards their dreams.

Cast and Crew of Barongbar: Maisha, Romeo, Samiya B, Siam, Fida, Saminur, Adib, Maruf, Riasat, Mir, Nini, Fariha, Swati, Anika, Farzana, Jamila, Ruby, Sicilia, Parsha, Shimul, Tonima, Rifat, Samia S, Moin, Abdullah, Saba, Niaz, Mumu, Munir, Nadia Z, Rizwan, Eva, Hrishov, Kazi, Saiba, Emma, Tanvir, Wasim, Humaira, Mushfiq, Nadia, Purna, Labeeba, Saptarsi, Mimoza, Fahmida and Novel.

The BSA organized this show to entertain the Bangladeshi Community in Toronto. In addition, the proceeds of the show will go towards non-profit charity organization in Bangladesh. This year the BSA will be donating to Community Action which is a student-run, grass root organization. BSA’s donation will go towards helping blind University students and the management of long-term disasters in Bangladesh.

Scenes from Barongbar

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Fashion for a Good Cause: ROCK THE RUNWAY

Posted on 10 March 2010 by .

I have never been to a fashion show in my entire life. And, being a woman of the twenty first century who has some moderate ideas about the latest fashions, I feel appalled to admit that. However, my no-fashion-show-experience changed on Saturday, February 27th, when I attended University of Toronto’s Rock the Runway 2010.

It was not your average run-of-the-mill university fashion show (I know, I know. I haven’t been to a show before, so how do I know?). For one, the show was held at the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum), and the settings and design surpassed anything York University has ever seen (source: overheard conversation at the show). Being a York student myself, I should stand to contradict this, but I was blown away with the professionalism in their display. And, they were running on time!!! In my experience, that’s a rarity for York shows.

Photo Credit: Dejana Bajic, www.shopsterium.com

The show started off with eye candy MC Brendan Beamish whose quirky humour set the tempo of the evening. The show included top brand names like Club Monaco, Bedo and French Connection, with the endorsement of a fantastic jewellery line by Gay Isber (who is also the officially jeweler for ROM). We were also treated to J(two) unisex shirts and Juju shoes, as well as AllieOop bags. The headliner designer was ‘Mis. James’, whose clothes, in my opinion, were made for ultra thin anorexic models, and which also made me wonder how she made it to the headliner slot. Oh well, I did say my sense of fashion was moderate. However, what stayed on in my mind long after the show was over was the musical performance by two jazz musicians that came right after the intermission: a jugalbandi of trumpets.

So, how did the show come about? In 2007, some UofT students (Fatima Yusuf, Juliana White, Heather McCann and Randy Alexander) from Woodsworth College had a vision. They wanted to raise money for War Child Canada, in a fun and engaging way that would bring the student community in Toronto together in the effort. And, it worked! Being their third consecutive year organizing the show, they have managed to move to a 600 attendee event (from just 100 students in their first year), consisting of fashion aficionados from UofT, York and Ryerson, raising over $20,000 in the past two years. As the story goes, the show gained so much popularity over the past two years that this year they had to move the location from Bata Museum to the ROM. It was a first for both Rock the Runway and ROM, because this was ROM’s first fashion show.

But fashion show aside, the cause behind the show is what is compelling. War Child Canada is a “Canadian charity dedicated to providing urgently needed humanitarian assistance to war-affected children around the world. War Child Canada helps generate awareness, support and advocacy for children’s rights everywhere”. The organization has a major role in providing assistance and generating awareness for the support of children in places like Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Georgia, Sri Lanka, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Northern Uganda, Sierra Leone, and Darfur. Overall, it is a cause that needs more attention, and Rock the Runway does precisely that through an approach that is both appealing and important to our current sensibilities. This is one show that I definitely won’t be missing next year, as fashion for a good cause is a far better excuse than any.

Author: Sanchari Sur

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Is Forming an Alliance Among South Asians Impossible? Not at Canadian Universities

Posted on 03 March 2010 by .

Born in Mississauga and not any exotic place, Sasha Kalra is the President of South Asian Alliance at University of Toronto St. George campus. Studying Political Science and International Relations, Sasha is still struggling with what field to choose: journalism, politics, law, agent for celebrities, or business administration. Talking out loud, Sasha sort of went through elimination process of what professions he does not like, however there are a number of considerations including how good a program is at each university, what parents are recommending, aptitude and of course money.

Free samosas and bar-be-cues attracted Sasha toward South Asian Alliance. Not highly motivated to join SAA, Sasha, initially got involved to embellish his resume. He has learned to work with a team and finds it “fulfilling.” Another advantage is “meeting a lot of new people, I mean, I won’t have met you if it wasn’t for SAA,” Sasha says. As an individual Sasha is funny, intelligent, smart and it is obvious that he knows how to get people engaged otherwise it would have been hard to be the president of SAA.

The first time around, Sasha was unable to run for executive team of SAA because of a class, however as most South Asian organizations, SAA was back to election phase after a semester, and here was the opportunity Sasha had missed earlier.

SAA at St. George has 12 executive members with two presidents. I had to ask why there are two presidents when every country has one president. Sasha joked, well “there is a prime minister and a president.” On his defense he did note that he gets along very well with the co-president of SAA.

In every organization, there are members who are not fully committed and willing to give time that they had promised to other members of the organization. SAA at St. George is no different. However the way to deal with is “we sit them down, we don’t scorn them down, we don’t tell them off, but again if they keep screwing down..we had to cut execs in the past if they do not work in the group or put their weight” says the President.

On the Election Day, 30 to 100 people show up out of a 900 membership list. One of the reasons is “everyone is in the library by themselves and doing their own stuff and then there are 40% international students at our campus.” In spite of the high numbers of international students from South Asia, many international students do not join the South Asian club. Why? “International students, I have noticed, don’t like to join these clubs..they are like I’m in Canada, why would I join a South Asian club, I’ve been in India my whole life. Local kids join because they have no social life, they are lonely.”

Strictly an apolitical body, SAA chose not to join Drop the Fee rally outside Premier Dalton McGunity’s office last Fall. UTSU funds all student clubs. UTSU asked all student bodies to join the rally. An added incentive given to execs of student organizations was to have $5 for every member brought in. Individually Sasha believes that rallies like Drop the Fee exude socialism, and, so he does not support them at an individual level either. “They want the government to fund everything,” he says.

Being an executive of SAA means you have to have a lot of time and energy. Every two weeks, the Alliance aims to do an event whether it is a fund raiser or a skating event.

Doing good things in the community is top priority for SAA. Other than that, the conversation among members of SAA is “God I missed that class, can I have notes from that class.” Focus on education is the top priority of these students.

SAA organizes events like poker. Revenue generated from such games is donated to charity organizations. Of course there are angry people at the end of the poker game, “but everyone is happy at the end because you see your friends’ win and be happy. Then sometimes we have faculty members come play poker with us. It’s kinda funny to watch them lose to their own students.” These charity organizations are local as well as international. They have donated to Canadian Cancer Society, Sick Children Hospital; we did a run for CIBC Run for the Cure and so on.

One of SAA’s biggest events is a formal that attracts more than a thousand South Asian students from universities and colleges across GTA. However, in this event students of Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan decent were nowhere to be seen. “Our membership is open to all South Asians, but I don’t know why they don’t join. Our President is Bengali this year and last year it was Tamil, but I should think about it” says Sasha, but are the execs of SAA really outreaching to Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan students is a real question.

As a President of SAA, Sasha believes that “coordination” is a huge challenge. “Dividing work” is another issue. “Essentially when everyone is doing everything, that leads to so much confusion,” Sasha says.

A few years ago, there was rivalry among members of different student bodies, however “now we don’t care, we are friends with everyone and all we care about is our campus,” says Sasha.

As a student of Political Science, Sasha follows politics closely. He is not satisfied by MP Michael Ignatieff’s leadership. “He’s a talker and charming, Stephan Dion wasn’t a great speaker but his policies on climate change were really good, Bob Rae should be the leader of Liberal Party,” but that’s just Sasha’s humble opinion.

By: Asma Amanat

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Shiamak’s Spring Dance Extravaganza

Posted on 24 February 2010 by .

A broad smile on their faces, a bounce in their step, and a twinkle in their eyes…is how one would describe every single person in Canada during Spring time. India’s most celebrated choreographer and artist, Shiamak Davar, adds a new flavour to this year’s spring with SPRING FUNKTM, a first-of-its-kind initiative in Canada. The Spring FunkTM classes will be conducted at all centres of Shiamak’s Institute in Canada i.e. Vancouver and Toronto.

Shiamak launches Spring FunkTM on popular demand post the phenomenal success of his previous batches, Summer FunkTM and Winter FunkTM. With Spring FunkTM, Shiamak once again provides all in Canada a unique opportunity of learning the latest Bollywood blockbuster dance moves and showcasing them in a professionally run event complete with majestic sets, rich costumes and innovative props. Shiamak’s Spring FunkTM will be staged across Canada: Toronto – 14th March 2010 and Vancouver: 11th April 2010.

What makes Spring FunkTM even more special is that besides having spectacular acts by the students of Shiamak’s institute, it will also have heart-rending performances by Shiamak’s Victory Arts Foundation (VAF) – the non-profit wing of Shiamak’s organisation committed towards spreading the joy of dance to children with special needs. With Spring FunkTM the special children will be given an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of performing like stars in front of a huge audiences reinforcing Shiamak’s belief Have Spirit. Will TriumphTM.

Shiamak has been successfully conducting dance classes in Canada since the past 9 years; educating, entertaining and empowering all the dance aficionados in the country. Shiamak’s Summer FunkTM and Winter FunkTM are unique programs, training amateur dancers to perform like confident professionals. Shiamak’s Institute trains, energizes and reaches out to people from all walks of life. Aged 4 to 74 years, SDI students attend dance classes in the age groups of 4-6 years for kids, 7-12 years for pre-teens and 13 years and above for adults. Spring FunkTM aims to do all this and much more…

Spring FunkTM classes will be conducted at Toronto (Markham, Mississauga, Brampton, Downtown, Scarborough, Woodbridge & Vaughan) and Vancouver (North Vancouver, Richmond, Downtown Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby)

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TiEQuest 2010, Business Venture COmpetition

Posted on 27 January 2010 by .

TiEQuest is an annual business venture competition held in Toronto to encourage entrepreneurship, engage emerging entrepreneurial talent and to foster the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Founded in 2005, the mission of TiEQuest is to connect entrepreneurs with angel investors, venture capitalists and fund managers.

TiEQuest attracts over 200 entrepreneurs every year. The contestants include existing and emerging entrepreneurs, patent holders and/or applicants, university students and alumni across North America. TiEQuest offers over $150,000 in prizes to the winners. To encourage participation of youth, TiEQuest offers the New Entrepreneur Prize to the best student team. In addition the top teams also have an opportunity to win up to $1,000,000 investment from sponsors.

TiEQuest has over 25 success stories, where the contestants were able to take their business idea to successful enterprises, which have obtained financing, signed partnerships, acquired customers and generated revenues. The contestants see value in participating in the competition as it offers networking opportunities with leading entrepreneurs and investors, recognition with investment, legal and accounting firms, opportunity to practice the process of pitching their venture to investors, and opportunity to turn an innovative idea into a real businesses.

TiEQuest is different from other business plan competitions as it offers mentoring to the contestants. We connect contestants with industry experts, successful entrepreneurs and professional advisors. As mentors, TiE charter members introduce contacts and insights on where to go. TiEQuest enhances the opportunity for obtaining financing. We have 30+ venture capitalists, angel investors, fund managers and other business leaders acts as judges. The participants get an opportunity to present to the investors. In addition, the sponsoring funds offer expression of interest to the top teams. The competition is designed to go through multiple stages to help polish business idea and promote networking opportunities. The judging criteria include value proposition, marketability, viability, management strengths and investibility.

TiEQuest is organized by TiE Toronto, a chapter of global, not-for-profit network of entrepreneurs and professionals dedicated to the advancement of entrepreneurship. TiE provides a platform for mentoring, networking and education. TiE’s mission is to foster and advance entrepreneurship across the globe. Its principle objective is to provide a platform on which people with entrepreneurial spirit and those interested in economic value creation can come together to share ideas. TiE endeavors to cultivate and nurture the ecosystems of entrepreneurship as it sees this to be the single most powerful instrument of prosperity.

TiE regular members are aspiring entrepreneurs and professionals. Dedicated to the virtuous cycle of wealth creation and giving back to the community, TiE’s focus is on generating and nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs.

TiEQuest 2010 is now accepting applications. Visit www.tiequest.org for details.

Author: Suresh Madan

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