As stated in one of our recent software start-up posts, we submitted our full-length business plan in this contest : 10th annual Québec Entrepreneurship Contest. In the east part of Montreal alone, over eighty business plans were submitted. Two weeks ago, we learned we were amongst the twenty-some finalists for the first round of the contest (there are three rounds: local, regional, national). On Monday, we had a short interview with the jury who decided which of the finalists would win in each category. It was a good way to practice our pitch, not only with the jury but also the other entrepreneurs that were being interviewed. Yesterday, at the awards ceremony for Montreal-East, we won the first prize in the Technological & Technical Innovation category. Woohoo :). We won a cash prize and a one year membership to the chamber of commerce.
We wanted to congratulate our good friends at Web Estate Management who also won a prize in the Services category! We had a long chat with the winners of the transformation / manufacturing category, Brik-a-Blok Inc.
Writing a business plan is a complex exercise if you want to do it properly. However, participating in a business plan contest can give you the small push you need to actually write it down and define your vision and your short/long term plan. If you aim to be a well-rounded software engineer doing more than coding, writing your plan brings a bit of variety to your day and allows you to distance yourself from the code for a few hours. We tackle business issues as if they were engineering problems and learned a lot during the whole process. (It is a known fact that it is the exercise of writing the plan that is valuable, not the document itself, which will evolve with the company.)
Even at this stage of the contest, we've already met some really interesting people that showed interest in our solution and had a few business propositions. The visibility that such a contest can offer in the media cannot be underestimated; some newspapers will most probably mention our company along with our sexy faces.
Yesterday was the ceremony for Montreal-East; we are now participating in the regional contest. We'll know at the end of the month if we are in the finalists! Wish us luck! Regardless of the outcome, this was a very gratifying experience.