An already unique opportunity for Lethbridge College students had a new twist this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The annual Tecconnect Challenge sees students create a marketing plan and collaterals to help solve real-world challenges for a local entrepreneur. In previous years, Tecconnect facilitated the event by bringing in a local business or entrepreneur for the students to work with, but this year’s client was Tecconnect itself.
“The COVD pandemic created a challenge for the Tecconnect business incubator space,” says Renae Barlow, VP Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Economic Development Lethbridge/Tecconnect. “The challenge to students was to come up with new and innovative ways of how to promote the space and services to benefit entrepreneurs at a time when physical distancing and use of physical space is decreasing.”
The students also had to change the way they worked, as this event was completed virtually instead of in-person, as it had been done in previous years. Students from the Multimedia Production (MMP) and Digital Communications and Media (DCM) programs had five hours, working in groups, to create a plan and collaterals for Tecconnect 2.0, before pitching their ideas and services to a panel of judges.
“It was a bit of a different energy, but students were able to still collaborate really well in this virtual arena,” says Tanya Weder, MMP instructor. “That is important moving forward, because a lot of companies right now, and probably into the future, will be working in this distributed model. This proved to the students they can work in a high-pressure environment, collaborate with many team members virtually and do the pitch to a client all virtually. It gives them the collaborative teamwork business skills they'll need going forward.”
Students were able to choose what materials they wanted to create for their pitch, including logo updates, motion graphics, animation, TV or radio commercials, social media accounts, virtual reality applications, 3D modelling and more.
“I really enjoyed being able to connect with so many people, both old and new,” says Heather Kniel, a second-year MMP student who also took control of the college’s Instagram account for a takeover during the event. “I find that online learning environments can sometimes create feelings of isolation and disconnect, so having this opportunity to ‘be around’ others and interact was a very positive experience.”
The winning team of MMP students Gerimee Martin, Eric Reger and Cassidy Takeyasu, and DCM students Trevor Graham, Colton Won and Kiera Bowen created a marketing plan, a refreshed design and a YouTube video. Judges were impressed by the team’s creative ideas, interesting use of marketing collaterals and innovative space use ideas.
The Tecconnect centre for entrepreneurship and innovation is a vibrant place for entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses within a supportive and innovative environment. It’s a space and community that encourages the development of new ideas that transform industries and shape the future.