First-place Shuswap Launch-a-Preneur winner Shawn Greek of Apollo Auto Centre and second-place winner Jodie Pruden of Fire on Wheels wood-fired pizza share a hug Thursday night when the winner is announced.

First-place Shuswap Launch-a-Preneur winner Shawn Greek of Apollo Auto Centre and second-place winner Jodie Pruden of Fire on Wheels wood-fired pizza share a hug Thursday night when the winner is announced.

Unique auto centre idea wins Shuswap Launch-a-Preneur competition

A dozen entrepreneurs compete for more than $30,000 in prize packages at third annual event.

  • May. 1, 2015 3:00 p.m.

Shawn Greek’s passion for cars took him to the top at the Shuswap Launch-a-Preneur competition.

A dozen exciting business ideas were pitched to judges in two-minute sessions in the Salmar Classic Theatre Thursday night at the well-attended culmination of the 12-week program. And at the end of the evening, Greek’s Apollo Auto Centre, which features such innovations as a bay where people can work on their own cars, as well as top-notch mechanics and secure areas where people can park and sell their cars, took top spot and more than $15,000 in prizes and services.

This was the Third Annual Shuswap Launch-a-Preneur Entrepreneurship Competition, an evening which is the culmination of an entrepreneurial program that began in January, assisting individuals and teams to successfully plan for the establishment of their business.

Throughout the past few months, what began as 25 teams have been attending workshops, receiving resources and participating in one-on-one business mentorship to help them validate their business model and prepare a detailed business plan.

Following the two-minute elevator pitches, the four top business ideas went on to a final round, where their proponents were given 10 minutes each to expand on their ideas.

Of the four, Greek’s first-place Apollo Auto Centre also took the Green Award, valued at $800, for the use of environmentally sustainable practices.

The Public’s Choice Award, valued at $850, went to David Huerta’s Tacos Los Machos, a line of tacos and tortillas that will be marketed initially at farmers’ markets.

Taking second place and an $11,400 prize package was Jodie Pruden’s Fire on Wheels, a wood-fired pizza business.

In third place, with a $2,500 prize package, was Sharon Toews and Michael Gregorig’s Be Teased, food trucks serving healthy, fresh and homemade foods along with an assortment of teas.

Fourth place and a $1,000 prize went to Mark Lane and Robin Johnson’s Sprokkets Bakery, which features butter tarts and butter pecan tarts without preservatives.

The competition is designed by Enactus students of Okanagan College, as well as Community Futures Shuswap and the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society.

Salmon Arm Observer