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Students recognized for innovation in agriculture


April 17, 2020
By Top Crop Manager

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United Farmers of Alberta Co-operative Ltd. (UFA) and Olds College are pleased to announce the winner of the Pitch Competition to be Kadeema Jean. An international student originally from the Commonwealth of Dominica, Jean is currently completing her bachelor of applied science degree, majoring in agri-business.

The four semi-finalists – Kadeema Jean, Wilson Schultz, Daniel Stefner, and Noah Weber – had the opportunity to work with industry mentors during the past six months. The pitch competition is the first of its kind as part of the five-year innovation partnership between UFA and Olds College.

Originally planned as a “Dragons Den”-style event, the four semi-finalist students were to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges at the college. Due to COVID-19 isolation measures, the event was moved to a virtual format which took place on Thursday, April 16.

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“I am excited and overwhelmed by the opportunity to work with UFA to bring DomCan Biodegradables to the market,” said Jean, following the announcement of her victory. “This opportunity has meant so much to me! I have been able to highlight the country that I am from, the Commonwealth of Dominica, and our strong resilience.

“I was matched with an amazing mentor, Rita Egizii, who taught me the importance of research, a strong value proposition and how to strengthen the business side of my idea. Thank you to Karla Petersen and Olds College for the advice and supporting me from the beginning. As well, thank you to my family, who has given me the opportunity to study in Canada.”

The Pitch Competition is part of UFA Innovation Day, a day dedicated to the best and brightest future leaders in agriculture at Olds College.

“Our students have a keen interest in solving issues that are currently facing the agriculture industry,” says Stuart Cullum, president of Olds College. “Through initiatives like UFA Innovation Day, our students have an opportunity to explore new ideas, test innovative products and processes, engage with exceptional mentors and ultimately express their entrepreneurial creativity in ways that will make a positive impact on Alberta’s agriculture sector.”