What began as a fun family experiment took Teena Gudjonson’s WineBox Sweets to first place in the fourth season of Launch-A-Preneur.
Wine Box Sweets was the recipient of more than $15,000 worth of prizes and services. WineBox Sweets, which produces real wine and alcohol-infused gummies, also won the People’s Choice Award.
“This is a special event,” said Master of Ceremonies James Grieve at the beginning of the evening. “Not in Penticton, or Kamloops, or Kelowna, or Vancouver do they hold an event like this.”
The competition, designed by Enactus students of Okanagan College, Community Futures Shuswap and the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society, is strongly supported by local businesses that provide prizes, services, and mentoring.
Ten teams were competing but 26 teams took part in the program which included weeks of mentorship from local business leaders.
The other competing teams were: Sandra Proulx/Chaga Borea, Sarah Lecouffe Axtell and Jedidiah Wiebe/Elderberry Grove, Brayden Harder/Harder Concrete, Kate and Jason Spielman/Kate’s Smoothies, Jenna and Adam Meikle/Meikle Studios, Chris Cousens/On Point Concrete Forming Ltd., Sarah Froud and Toni Froud/Rocking Wheels, Sarah Bradshaw and Misty Berkholtz/Wise Woman Seeds, Roxy Roth and Spencer Keating/Shuswap Event.
These teams made a two-minute pitch to the judges who then decided the four finalists. Grieve told the audience the judges had a hard time due to the calibre of the presentations.
“It’s the toughest I’ve ever seen, they’re splitting hairs on quarter points.”
Elderberry Grove, On Point Concrete, Shuswap Event, and WineBox Sweets were the four teams that went on to the finals. They each had to make a 10-minute pitch and answer questions from the judges.
In between presentations Rob Marshall (Community Futures Shuswap), Laureen Shannon (Enactus), and Lana Fitt (Salmon Arm Economic Development Society) were a popular part of the evening’s entertainment as they took to the big screen in short videos with past Launch-A-Preneur participants.
On Point Concrete won the Green Initiative Award for being the most environmentally friendly. The prize comes with a $1,228 worth of prizes and services.
As Steve deBoer of Drew Lee-Hai presented the fourth place award, he couldn’t resist poking some fun at this year’s Oscar awards fiasco where the wrong film was announced as the winner. As he opened the envelope he said, “The winner is La La Land.”
The real winner of fourth place this year is Elderberry Grove, which comes with a prize package value of over $1,000.
Third place, valued at $3,057, was awarded to On Point Concrete. Shuswap Event took second winning $11,287 worth of prizes and services.
“We’re grateful for the community support,” said Roxy Roth of Shuswap Event following the ceremony. “I look forward to rolling out our event app and helping people get out to experience events in the Shuswap.”
Gudjonson, in the midst of hugs and congratulations, was still in a little shock over her win.
“I’m so excited and surprised. I just wanted to learn about business, I never expected to win.”