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Posted May 1, 2012

Entrepreneurship Event

Dragons’ Den investor joins judging for LaunchPad $50K start-up competition

Kitchener - High tension and white knuckles will be the order of the day, Friday, May 4, when eight local start-up companies pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. The three top companies will receive cash and in-kind investments in their businesses worth more than $100,000 from investors and local companies.

The event, sponsored by the Golden Triangle Angelnet (GTAN), is called LaunchPad $50K, referring to the $50,000 cash gold prize. The runners-up get $25,000 (silver) and $10,000 (bronze). As well as cash prizes, the winners get support and mentoring from a number of local companies: Miller Thomson, KPMG, TD Commercial Banking, Machteld Faas Xander (MFX) and Corporate Concerns/Canada. The gold winner also receives three-month accommodation in the Accelerator Centre.

In addition, there will be some 100 investors in the audience who can make side deals with any of the competitors. These investors will determine the winner of an additional prize – the $1,000 People’s Choice Award – sponsored by Machteld Faas Xander (MFX) of Kitchener, ON.

Bruce Croxon from Dragons’ Den is one of the judges. In 1988, Croxon helped co-found Lavalife, an online dating service that grew to more than 2 million users, and orchestrate its sale for $180 million. As the newest investor on Dragons’ Den, Croxon focuses on businesses and products that tap into his passion for digital media, health, and marketing.

LaunchPad $50k venture creation competition originally ran for five years, from 2004 to 2009. Created by the Schlegel Centre at Wilfrid Laurier University, it grew to be hosted by several Ontario universities, including University of Waterloo, Conestoga College, the University of Guelph, as well as WLU.

More than 30 start-ups entered the 2012 competition. Through two rounds of judging, these have been winnowed down to the final eight.

GTAN is a members-only group of more than 100 angel investors who look for investment opportunities in promising, early stage companies. Membership is open to accredited investors. GTAN is a not-for-profit corporation operating under the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation’s Angel Network Program.

The competition will be held Friday, May 4 from 1 - 5 p. m. at The Breithaupt Block, 20 Breithaupt Street, Kitchener. The event is open to all accredited investors. Registration is mandatory. Interested investors can register at:

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