Neovation at RampUp Weekend 2022

Felicia Pulo
Smiling woman with shoulder-length brown hair, wearing glasses and a bright red sweater.
min read

Neovation is passionate about supporting our fellow Manitoban start-ups. We want to be part of the reason why Manitoba is the best place in Western Canada to be an entrepreneur. That’s why we frequently participate in mentorship programs, networking events, and other initiatives that bring Manitoban innovators together. 

Most recently, we participated in North Forge’s 2022 RampUp weekend on the weekend of June 3rd-5th. Three members of the Neovation team, including our CEO & Founder Dan Belhassen, played significant roles at the event.

What is RampUp weekend?

Promotional graphic from North Forge stating Neovation as an official sponsor.

RampUp weekend is a 3-day pitch competition that showcases Manitoba’s aspiring entrepreneurs at the University of Manitoba. The event’s goal is to support local innovators and boost Manitoba’s entrepreneurial growth. RampUp works towards these goals by giving future entrepreneurs a space to network, develop their ideas, and access resources. 

While some participants had pre-planned business ideas, RampUp weekend is also a great opportunity for anyone interested in starting a business to meet like-minded people and plan something new. Participants of any age refined their ideas into actionable business plans through mentorships, research, and discussions with other participants. Teams, both predetermined and newly formed, pitched their business plans to a panel of judges, and the winner received a grand prize of $10,000!

Historically, three multi-million dollar Manitoba companies (Permission Click, Go Oil, and Taiv) launched during RampUp weekends, and we’re looking forward to seeing more come out of it!

Manitoba’s entrepreneurial spirit shines!

Neovation was thrilled to sponsor and participate in this event. Dan Belhassen served as one of the judges, and two of our sales directors, Gord Holmes and Philip Giles, participated as mentors. Over the course of fifty hours, we saw budding ideas grow to become creative new businesses and watched in anticipation as the winners were selected. 

On Friday, hopeful entrepreneurial teams pitched their ideas to the audience. The audience enthusiastically voted for their favorite ten finalists to move on to the next phase.

Once the ten finalists were chosen, participants who did not have a group or who were not among the final ten could join one of the finalists. These groups spread out across the building, and mentors wandered to offer advice to groups with ideas that piqued their interest. As mentors, Philip and Gord have nothing but positive things to say about the creativity of the groups they advised. With guidance from mentors, participants refined their ideas into realistic business proposals that were ready to be judged by a panel of seasoned entrepreneurs.  

Dan Belhassen, and the other RampUp weekend judges, with the competition's winner.

On the final day of the event, Dan, and the rest of the panel had to make the difficult choice of selecting the winners. With so many inventive ideas to choose from, picking a winner truly was a challenge! Groups that didn’t win still gained valuable experience, honed their pitch skills, and met potential business partners for their future projects. Wherever they ranked, RampUp let their participants’ creativity shine and truly contributed to making Manitoba a great place to be an innovator!

We were impressed by the innovative spirit of our community and we were honored to be a sponsor for this exciting event. Congratulations to the winners, and we look forward to seeing this weekend’s participants grow to be amazing members of Winnipeg’s business community!

As Neovation's Manitoba Territory Manager, I'm continually reminded of the resiliency, innovation, and initiative of Manitoba’s business community. Seeing these budding entrepreneurs develop and present their business plans reinforces that Manitoba is a great place to do business.

Gord Holmes
Smiling woman with shoulder-length brown hair, wearing glasses and a bright red sweater.
Felicia Pulo

Felicia uses her writing skills and knowledge to help readers learn about how they can enhance their online training.