Four Okanagan College business students will be representing the interior at a B.C. Tourism Industry Conference competition in February, thanks to a victory at a regional competition this week in Kamloops that involved developing a full business plan for a luxury biking tour company.
Adrian Lemiski, Nicolas Gallant, Brooks Hewko and Merissa Hucul spent about 60 hours, with help from coaches Laura Thurnheer and Blair Baldwin—both professors in the Okanagan College School of Business—developing the plan for Pioneer Adventure.
The fictitious company serves the Columbia and Western Rail Trail from Castlegar to Midway and the Kettle Valley Rail trail from Midway to Osoyoos.
One of the objectives of the plan was to promote rural economic development.
The students’ plan was submitted to four private-sector judges last Monday and they met with the judges privately on Thursday.
Afterward they had to present their plan to an audience of about 150 people, who were able to vote on their phones as part of the competition.
The voting counted for 10 per cent of the students’ mark, while the presentation counted for another 30 per cent. Sixty per cent of the mark was based on the business plan itself.
“There is an incredible amount of work involved in preparing for this case competition,” explains Baldwin.
“It’s almost as much work as a full semester’s course, but it provides the students a chance to test their knowledge and ideas against the expertise of private sector experts.”
“Stressful? A little,” admits Lemiski, “but definitely a great learning experience. The whole team really coalesced and we came up with a solid plan. And now we need to continue our prep for the provincial competition.”
The Tourism Industry Case competition is sponsored by Go2HR, an industry organization that promotes tourism careers, helps with labour market information and analysis and provides training and certification.
The four OC students will travel to Victoria in February to compete against regional winners from Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, the Kootenays and from Northern B.C.