ACC students win big at undergrad business competition | Assiniboine Community College
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ACC students win big at undergrad business competition

ACC students win big at undergrad business competition

Written On: 20 April, 2015
Category: Agriculture Awards
Related programs:  Agribusiness

Two Agribusiness students at Assiniboine Community College (ACC) are smiling ear to ear after being awarded first place in an annual provincial business competition and walking away with a $5,000 cash prize.

Matt Tolton and Will Turner represented ACC at the Manitoba New Venture Championships held on April 11 in Winnipeg at the University of Manitoba.

“We’ve been sleeping, breathing and eating this business plan since September, so we were pretty well-versed in what we were presenting,” said Turner.

Their plan, titled Central Plains Railway Corporation, outlined repurposing an existing, but currently unused, railway branch line that runs from Rathwell to Nesbitt in Manitoba. The idea was that the line could be put back into business and used to move producer and elevator cars. Their business model also included storing railway cars, grain drying and grain storage.

Turner focused more on the financial side of the plan while Tolton covered operations and the industry-specific knowledge.

“Boundary Trail Railway was a huge mentor to us and we could not have done the project without their help,” said Tolton.

The duo had only 15 minutes to present their plan followed by 10 minutes of Q & A and feedback from the panel of judges through two rounds of competition. They also submitted an 18-page business plan ahead of time to supplement their presentation.

They spent over a hundred hours outside of class reworking and fine-tuning the project, which was presented earlier this year at ACC’s annual Agribusiness plan competition. They won that as well, along with two other classmates who decided not to move forward in the provincial competition.

The pair faced off against 11 teams comprised of undergraduate students from the University of Manitoba, Red River College and Brandon University. Tolton and Turner are the only ACC students to have ever participated in the competition.

“Matt and Will did an outstanding job of presenting their business plan throughout the day. Since the start of the business plan project, the group faced and overcame many obstacles,” said ACC instructor Terry Powell, who accompanied the two students to Winnipeg. “In their presentations, they knew the financial projections cold. This preparation and attention to detail allowed them to handle the question and answer sessions in a professional manner and was the deciding factor in the competition.”

After graduation later this year, Turner plans to return to the family farm around Boissevain to put his education into practice and Tolton will be working in Saskatchewan for the summer.