Business plans earn support

University of Lethbridge students Aamna Zia and Richard Jokinen took home some cash to support their new business ventures as this year's finalists in the Southventure Business Plan competition.

Supported by Dr. Dan Weeks, VP research, and the Office of Research and Innovation Services, the applicants were challenged to convince a panel of judges that their business plan has merit and is worthy of a cash investment.

Business plan winners
Aamna Zia, left, and Richard Jokinen, right, were the recent finalists in the Southventure Business Plan competition. Each finalist earned a cash investment toward the establishment of a small business.

Jokinen received $6,000 as the first place winner. He's a current management student and founding partner in, the first segmented dating/social networking community, and what he hopes is the future website of choice for young Mexicans around the world. With more than 140 million Mexicans worldwide, Jokinen believes that the website is viable because Mexico is a huge market, and does not currently have its own dating or social website community.

Zia, a management student currently taking classes at the U of L Calgary Campus, took second place and $2,000 for her work on CitizenBridge, a web-based citizen engagement system that gathers information about government resources into one location. It offers an opportunity for the public and government representatives alike to join in conversations about issues of public interest.

The panel of reviewers and judges have more than a century of business experience among them, and put the entrants through their paces at a final presentation in late February.

This story first appeared in the March 2012 issue of the Legend. For a look at the full issue in a flipbook format, follow this link.