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Queen's University

Alumni praise for student business venture

Commerce student Jane Wu 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 Tom Kinnear, Com'66, Law'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, Com'07, Founder and Managing Realtor of; Ahmad Iqbal, Com'10, Founder of Atendy; Peter McWhirter, MBA'79, retired VP of Commercial Banking at TD; and Elspeth Murray, Artsci'85, MBA'87, Associate Dean, Queen's School of Business and Director of the Queen's Centre for Business Venturing.

Penyo Pal is a Mandarin instruction product, now in beta development. It's a virtual community where students can adopt a baby Kirin animated character and interact on a platform designed to foster language exposure and learning.

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