Roaring with innovation in the Tigers’ Den

By Adriano Magnifico

Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) high school students tested their innovative mettle during the annual Tigers’ Den Entrepreneurship Conference on March 13 at the Board Office Legacy Centre.
Nine student teams were empowered to come up with problem-solving ideas during a full day of teamwork activities, collaboration with partner-consultants, and multiple pitches to business experts, or “Tigers.”
The event began with a keynote address from Rory Bochinski, co-creator of Shocknife, a device that offers realistic training for police and military personnel. His innovative tools accurately simulate the tension and adrenaline rush of real-life danger.
The teams were all composed of peers from different schools who met first thing in the morning. They worked furiously to develop team codes of conduct, choose different business roles, pitch ideas to one another, develop cardboard prototypes at a mini makers’ studio, plan a presentation, and create an appealing display.
Then, at 2 p.m., they entered the Tigers’ Den.
In a high-energy, frenzied hour, student teams delivered five minute pitches for a full hour to teams of business partners who judged the problem-solving quality of the ideas and the collaborative teamwork of each group.
The Tigers’ Den champions created K-Go, a charging device for bicycles; second place was TDC, a trauma/stress detection chip; and third place was Easy Transit, a bus ticket app.
The day concluded with an address from Scott MacAulay, of Red River College’s entrepreneurship program, acquainting students with Winnipeg’s Innovation Alley, sort of the grown-up version of the entrepreneurial hub they were part of that day.
Many Tigers commented on the high level of ideas and innovation at the event. Elaine Palson from Futurpreneur, a judge for similar post-secondary events, was impressed with the high school pitches. “I was recently a judge for (a university event) and some of their work was not of the quality of the (LRSD) pitches,” she says.
Many thanks to the 35 businesses and 10 teachers who provided an environment in which students’ creativity and innovation skills were able to flourish.
The Louis Riel School Division was recently named a Spirit of Winnipeg winner in the not-for-profit category at the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce awards. Its nationally celebrated Career Internship Program incorporates dynamic lessons in entrepreneurship and exposes youth to non-traditional career opportunities.

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