Big earthquake, tiny kit

August 2, 2019

A Bachelor of Commerce in Entrepreneurial Management graduate is using her business and emergency management expertise to create and sell survival kits designed to fit into a backpack or purse.

Meagan Delgado, who graduated this spring, was awarded the Eric C. Douglass Centre for Entrepreneurship Studies Scholarship for the business plan for Respondkits.

The $10,000 scholarship helps the student who wins a business pitch competition launch their venture within six months.

“I became aware of the large gap in personal preparedness in BC through what I’ve been hearing at the office — and I realized I needed to buy an emergency kit myself,” says Delgado, a provincial planning officer with Emergency Management BC.

“I wanted one that was small enough that I could keep it with me. I was completely flabbergasted that I couldn’t find one. The ones on the market were bulky and didn’t have the high quality products my colleagues recommended.”

Delgado says that gap in the market worried and inspired her.

“We need a tool that will be mobile just like us and dependable,” she says. “We live in an area where a catastrophic earthquake can happen at any moment. A lot of people assume government agencies will be able to come save them, but they will be much too busy. We have to be able to self-rescue.”   

The kit is still in development, but will include such items as a first aid kit, Mylar blanket, a phone charger and radio, a tool device, a system for collecting and cleaning water, and a high-calorie food bar.

Geoff Archer, associate professor in the Faculty of Management and Eric C. Douglass Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies director, says Delgado is the ideal entrepreneur to carry forward this venture.

“When considering supporting a new business venture, savvy investors typically focus on the management team. This is one area where Meagan really stood out; she is a subject matter expert,” says Archer. “This professional work experience will likely boost her market position, especially as ‘the big one’ is more of a trending news story with every shaking West Coast fault line.”

Delgado is working with fellow Royal Roads graduates Nikki Moffat, Chris Morton and Wes Terepocki to launch Respondkits. She calls the team an “entrepreneurial crazy quilt” with complementary skills in finance, marketing and branding, and product development.

Their work has been noticed by the entrepreneurial community in Victoria. Delgado will present Respondkits at the Fort Tectoria quarterly entrepreneurial gathering Aug. 13.

“The Eric C. Douglass scholarship is huge for us in terms of getting this project off the ground. It gives us the capital to develop the product and gives us the opportunity to launch,” Delgado says. “But the other forms of support from Royal Roads, including faculty support, leverage and exposure, are also absolutely critical.”