Kingston , March 29, 2012 - Jane Wu, BCom’12, and her teammates took home top honours at the annual Paul and Tom Kinnear Business Plan Competition held March 29 at Goodes Hall. Their venture, Penyo Pal, is an engaging game for “kids and kids at heart” to learn Mandarin.
Established in 2008 by Dr. Tom Kinnear, BCom’66, LLD’02, the competition awards the winning team $5,000 to launch or further the ongoing operations of its venture. Dr. Kinnear is the Director of the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan and the founder of the Wolverine Venture Fund, the inspiration for QSB’s own student-advised Tricolour Venture Fund. Each year, teams that comprise at least one QSB Commerce student submit their business plans. After a preliminary round, the final four teams present to a panel of judges that selects the winning team.
This year’s judging panel included Lauren Haw, BCom’07, Founder and Managing Realtor of HerHome.ca; Ahmad Iqbal, BCom’10, Founder of Atendy; Peter McWhirter, MBA’79, retired VP of Commercial Banking at TD; and Elspeth Murray, BSc’85, MBA’87, Associate Dean, Queen’s School of Business and Director of the Queen’s Centre for Business Venturing.
The winning team Penyo Pal was founded by BCom’12 student Jane Wu, Jessica Fan, Simon Fraser University, Business & Design 2012; Rafal Dittwald, University of Toronto Engineering 2012; and Ryan Wagner, University of Waterloo Engineering 2012. Its first Mandarin instruction product, now in beta development, is a virtual community where students can adopt a baby Kirin animated character and interact on a platform designed to foster language exposure and learning. Says Jane, “We believe learning a language is the best way to discover the world so we’re excited to be leveraging technology to make learning Mandarin fun for kids, and empowering for parents.”