Business entrepreneurs to challenge 'bears'

Otago Daily Times, 17 March 2008, p. 4

By John Gibb

FIVE sets of contestants will battle it out in the finals of a University of Otago 'bear-baiting' event later this month, aimed at rewarding top new business ideas.

University Research and Enterprise Office marketing enterprise manager and event organizer Lisa Scott was amazed at the strong public response to the inaugural contest.

It had attracted 56 entries, half from university students and staff, and the rest from the wider community, including one from Australia.

Ideas for new products or services among the finalists include an item finder, a bicycle helmet lock, a stop-erosion system and an individualised bra design.

Dragon's Den judge Barry Colman is among the judges for the finals, which are open to the public and being held at the university's St David lecture theatre at 6.30pm on March 26.

Decision support software create by Otago University-based technology company 1000minds was used to help determine the finalists, who will be grilled on the night by the judging panel - the potentially grumpy "bears".

Finalists are: Dean Gillan, Emily Peng, Simon Wharton (a team entry); Phil Parsonage; Hamish Cocks; Peter Dunn; and Christine Groves.