National honours

- March 7, 2007

(l-r): Ashley Blackman, Sydney Davidson, Tayze MacKenzie and Reagan Davidson

Four Dalhousie students embraced the business of science when they took first prize in the Business Development Bank of CanadaÕs  Enterprize 2007 Business Plan competition, the most lucrative academic business planning competition in Canada. The team, entitled Divisio Technologies Inc, won $75,000. They also qualify for a $250,000 loan from the Business Development Bank of Canada if they decide to put their plan into action.

Divisio Technologies, Inc consists of Ashley Blackman, Reagan Davidson, Sydney Davidson and Tayze MacKenzie. The Dal team combined expertise in science and entrepreneurship and spanned four faculties: Pharmacy, Chemistry, Science and Management. Their business plan was based on commercializing a cutting edge chemical catalyst technology developed by researchers, also at Dalhousie (see sidebar).

The winning entry:
The first place team Divisio Technologies, Inc. was founded in 2006 by Ashley Blackman, Reagan J. Davidson, Sydney Davidson, and R. Tayze MacKenzie. This company exploits novel chemical compounds known as "catalysts" designed and developed by Dr. Mark Stradiotto in order to provide a chiral switching service (separating the 'good' from the 'bad') to drug companies currently manufacturing drug mixtures. Separating these drugs results in a safe alternative that not only has reduced side effects, but also meets the FDA's strict new standards, increases the drug's effectiveness, and most importantly extends the patent life. The strong management team at Divisio includes scientists with specialties of chemistry, neuroscience, and pharmacy working alongside accomplished entrepreneurs. In addition, the team is supported by a highly qualified board of directors

The Dal team topped nine other finalists, each of whom had won regional competitions to earn the right to compete for national honours. Top university business and management school students from across Canada submitted 97 plans, of which 50 made it to the regional qualifiers.

Professor David Roach, Director of DalhousieÕs Norman Newman Centre for Entrepreneurship coached the Dal team. His pride in their accomplishment is palpable.

ÒThe students did an amazing job. They were very well prepared, delivered flawless presentations and were extremely professional in the question and answer sessions with the venture capital judges. To my knowledge this is the largest prize given out in Canadian history and the students should be very proud of themselves.”

The chemical catalyst technology is owned by Dalhousie, and the universityÕs Industry Liaison and Innovation (ILI) executive director, Ron Layden, is eager to see the students continue on Òtheir amazing journey” and is keen to launch a new venture in Halifax, together with BDC, the university and the researchers.


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