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The BIC Junior Pitch Competition is reshaping the business of science


MNP and BioNova are encouraging Nova Scotia students to embrace both the boardroom and the lab.  

This year has presented perhaps the biggest healthcare challenge since the 1917 influenza pandemic. Despite numerous warnings from within the biomedical community, the novel COVID-19 coronavirus caught many epidemiologists, politicians, and researchers off guard. Global infections have now surpassed 40 million, with more than a million deaths, millions more facing an uncertain future, and a swath of economic damage.

There will be many lessons to learn once we have a reliable vaccine, the COVID-19 pandemic is firmly in the rear-view mirror, and life begins returning to normal. But this once in a century catastrophe has been a stark reminder of how many more potential crises still await us. Especially as the world warms; baby boomers age; and cities grow larger, more densely populated, and continue to encroach on wild spaces.


Solving tomorrow’s challenges today

We can’t afford to wait for the next global pandemic to begin looking for solutions. We can’t allow current trends in age related illness or other pressing biomedical concerns to continue on their current trajectory, either. We need to begin preparing now — and, more importantly, we need to begin preparing the next generation of doctors, innovators, and entrepreneurs to lead that charge. 

That’s why MNP is proud to sponsor BioNova’s Bioinnovation Challenge Junior (BIC Junior) pitch competition. This one-of-a-kind contest encourages Nova Scotia high school students to consider a career in the health and life sciences sector. More importantly, it shines a light on all the possible shapes that could take and provides firsthand exposure to the kinds of impacts they can already make.

Throughout the competition, each BIC Junior participant is paired with sciences subject matter experts from partner organizations MNP, Bionova, Brilliant Labs, and Business is Jammin’. Together they work to identify a current biomedical problem and develop a viable solution that has real commercialization potential. The students then hone that idea into a compelling and professional quality business pitch, which they then present to a judging panel at the annual BioPort conference.

More than a competition

While the winner walks away with a $2,000 cash prize ­that will ideally help fund their post-secondary health and life sciences career, this program has much broader potential.

Today’s youth will obviously become tomorrow’s business and political leaders. But young entrepreneurs also have a unique perspective on the world — a perspective that often allows them to make connections and see untapped opportunities that more well-worn eyes tend to miss. Applying their thinking to existing problems has the potential to shape research and create breakthroughs right now.

Moreover, BIC Junior encourages young innovators to begin approaching social and cultural challenges through a business lens. It augments core scientific principles with practical business skills and techniques. It helps them build relationships between researchers, investors, and legislators. And it encourages them to create airtight business plans that will ensure their inventions can reach the largest possible market. 

These practical and hands-on insights will be invaluable as these students continue their education and pursue a career. And this entrepreneurial mindset will pay dividends irrespective of whether they end up in the biomedical sector or pursue a career in business.

Re-defining what it means to be an entrepreneur

We can’t predict what the next major crisis will be or the next big biomedical breakthrough. But we can ensure Nova Scotian scientists and business leaders will be on the front lines of improving global health and social outcomes. The earlier we can instill all students with entrepreneurial skills and values, regardless what industry they plan to enter — and the more we encourage our future leaders to consider a career in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) — the better the future will be for all of us. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s BIC Junior pitch competition will be a completely virtual event. We encourage you to watch << the live stream on 3, 2020 at 9:00 a.m.>> to get an early look at the bright potential that’s sure to blossom over the next decade.

Monita Taylor, CPA, CA, is a Partner and Business Advisor in MNP’s Dartmouth Office. To learn more about how the firm is supporting young entrepreneurs across Nova Scotia, contact Monita at 902.493.5476 or [email protected]