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Prize helps SAIT alumnus build his business

Even before competing in SAIT's Build Your Business Competition, Matthew Beacock knew he had a great product.

"But I was a little bit lost," says the 29-year-old Red Seal journeyman. "Starting and operating a business is a really daunting task."

The germ of his business idea came when Beacock was working at a motor repair facility in Fort McMurray as an electrical motor systems technician and millwright.

He realized that, not only were the electrical insulators he was producing expensive to make, but they were also failing required electricity tests.

Beacock had been learning about additive manufacturing at the time, and called up an engineer to help him design the same insulator out of polycarbonate using a 3D printer.

Together they produced twice the number of insulators at less than half the cost, and with far better test performance results.

Inspired, Beacock packed up his things, returned to Calgary and enrolled in Mechanical Engineering Technology at SAIT.

The idea grows

After graduating in 2016, Beacock had deeper insights into the technology behind his product.

"Before, I was just able to use the parts, install them and take them apart, but there's a lot that goes into being able to make a product function and last."

Beacock's next step was to enter his business concept, Electro-Motor Solutions Inc., in the Build Your Business Competition.

For the past three years, this Dragon's Den-style competition for SAIT alumni has connected contestants with the resources to develop an industry-ready business strategy.

The competition works with Enactus SAIT to provide a student coach from the School of Business for each participant.

"You need something to map a business, and you need business sense to make something, so you just put the two together," says AJ Poole, President of Enactus SAIT and Beacock's mentor.

"Keep plugging away"

Armed with a passion, an idea and a plan, Beacock presented his proposed business to the competition's panel of five judges on March 28 - and won the $5,000 prize.

Donated by Jack (MMPU '58, HOND '12) and Joan Donald, the prize encourages graduate entrepreneurship and Beacock will use it to purchase a new 3D printer for his shop.

Beacock encourages all hopeful entrepreneurs to work hard and reap the benefits.

"Don't do things halfway. If you're going to do it, jump in and do it all the way," he says.