TORONTO, May 5, 2014 – Nineteen budding entrepreneurs have been selected to pitch their business ideas as part of Ontario Centres of Excellence’s Discovery 2014.
The 19 are the finalists in the second edition of Young Entrepreneurs, Make Your Pitch a high school entrepreneurship competition presented by the Ministry of Economic Development Trade and Employment and Ontario Centres of Excellence as part of the $295 million Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy.
The contest invited high school students across Ontario to pitch their business idea in a two-minute video. Finalists, chosen from among 123 entries, were determined through a combination of on-line public voting and expert judges. Their companies represent a range of ideas in such sectors as technology, social innovation, services and the environment.
They will now appear in front of a judging panel in Toronto at Discovery on May 12. Six winners, to be announced at Discovery on May 13, will receive reserved entry into Ontario’s Summer Company program, which includes a grant of up to $3,000 to help launch their business.
“The quality of these business proposals is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit that is alive and well in Ontario,” said Dr. Tom Corr, President and CEO of Ontario Centres of Excellence. “OCE is pleased to once again partner with the Government of Ontario to make this contest bigger and better than last year’s.”
This year’s finalists are:
- Taha Hossain, a Grade 10 student at Milliken Mills High School in Unionville, for Cronovo, an app development company that uses source codes provided by application developers. The usage of source codes saves time and reduces production costs drastically.
- Caroline Li, a Grade 11 student at Bayview Secondary School in Richmond Hill, for SmartStudy an online platform that streamlines all aspects of studying, such as flashcards, quizzes, notes, and textbooks and centralizes them. Resources are just a few clicks away! Users access a wide variety of materials and everything can be shared with others, from fellow classmates to students in different countries to accommodate those in international programs. In addition, SmartStudy merges students’ academic and social life, offering features such as chat, live feed, and PVP quizzes.
- Matt Blair, a Grade 11 student at Oakridge Secondary School in London, for Foundation Tools, a company which offers used tools that have been refurbished to manufacturer’s standards that can be either rented or bought. Foundation tools also offers to fix your broken down tools or equipment. What makes the company different is that they will pick up and drop off your equipment. It also makes donations towards Habitat for Humanity.
- Katrina Kuzyk, a Grade 12 student at Grimsby Secondary School, for SeedSolutions which sells organic vegetable and herb seeds. It has a website to provide information, advice and directions on how to garden. The website allows you to create your own account and to program your cellphone to receive reminders of when to water and care for your plants.
- Rabiya Siddiqui, a Grade 11 student at Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School in London, for Doodle School, an online community that helps people learn to draw through online tutorials uploaded by the community. An art work gallery where users can upload their own work for others to view and an online store where users can sell their artwork for a small fee will be added to the website.
- Andrew Williams, a Grade 11 student at Sandwich Secondary School in LaSalle, for Poseidon Pool Care, a pool cleaning company.
- Brendan Marentette, a Grade 11 student at A. Y. Jackson Secondary School in Kanata, for Auricle, a mobile application for Android and iOS that utilizes Google Glass and speech recognition technologies to allow a person who has hearing loss to understand what people around them are saying without the use of sign language.
- Hayden Rasberry, a Grade 10 student at Kingston Collegiate & Vocational Institute, for WeDrink which offers thirsty tourists and market-goers in Kingston a high quality re-usable water bottle that comes with a drink of their choice. The best part is every time someone buys a WeDrink water bottle, 10 per cent of the profits will be donated to WaterCan, a charity that helps bring water to communities in need.
- Kennedy Munch, a Grade 11 student at LaSalle Secondary School in Sudbury, for Organic, an organic health food stand for students at Lasalle Secondary School. This stand allows students another option besides cafeteria or food court unhealthy choices. All profits from the food stand will go towards helping to fund organized sports at the school.
- Nathan Peregrine, a Grade 12 student at LaSalle Secondary School in Sudbury, for The Food Plan, which aims to eliminate hunger and food waste in Sudbury and one day all of Ontario. This will be accomplished by collecting left over perishable food from different dining services in the community then getting the food supplies to people in need through organizations such as the Elgin Street Mission.
- Calin Ranger, a Grade 8 student at École Secondaire Macdonald-Cartier in Sudbury, for BluePhone, a new technology that allows users to connect multiple phones to their cell phone through Bluetooth technology. This allows you to get rid of your home phone bill without getting rid of your home phone.
- Kaleb Sauve, a Grade 11 student at LaSalle Secondary School in Sudbury, for Vision3D, a service for constructing and customizing spaces in a 3D environment that will allow customers to visualize how small or large renovations will appear when completed, the 3D constructions are formatted to be exact replicas of the property or space the customer is renovating.
- Brooke McLeod, a Grade 12 student at Nipigon-Red Rock District High School in Red Rock, for Triple R, a company that recycles old newspapers from their school to make newspaper logs for fireplaces and campfires.
- Julia Chong, a Grade 11 student at St. Joseph’s Morrow Park in Toronto, for Park It!, an interactive parking app that plots multiple parking lots across the GTA to tell you what parking lots are in your area and how many spots are available in each lot.
- Yosof Hakimi, a Grade 11 student at Cedarbrae Collegiate Institute in Toronto, for EZ Guide, an indoor GPS system that allows customers to easily find products in their stores. It can also be utilized by airports or bus terminals to help travelers easily find where they need to get to.
- Radiun Huq, a Grade 11 student at North Park Secondary School in Brampton, for MyProject a website that allows users to connect with friends and follow them on their journey to accomplish pre-set goals. Creating a project of your own enables you to get supports to support your journey and motivate you to accomplish your goal.
- Joshua Karbi, a Grade 9 student at Forest Hill Collegiate Institute in Toronto, for NotesShare, a website on which high school students can post and get classroom notes. NotesShare will help students who missed class, lost the notes, have notes (but those notes are insufficient), thought “I’ll remember that” and then do not, or do not understand some class material and are embarrassed to ask the teacher or a friend. In the future, NotesShare will also have a smartphone app so that students can access NotesShare even on the go.
- Vicki A. Lee, a Grade 12 student at R. H. King Academy in Toronto, for Herbimore, providing all-vegan homemade desserts delivered in recyclable containers.
- Wendy Wei, a Grade 10 student at Centennial Collegiate & Vocational Institute in Guelph, for Cotton Creations which aims to connect communities in a way that everyone benefits by supporting local artists and charitable organizations through high quality apparel. A new charity will also be chosen each month which will receive 25 per cent of the profits from the clothing.
In addition to attending Discovery, finalists will attend a young entrepreneurs training boot camp and networking session at oneeleven, a big data accelerator in Toronto, on May 11.
The pitches are open and will take place at OCE’s Discovery on May 12 from 4-6 p.m. in the NEXT Theatre on the Discovery show floor. The judging panel consists of Alex Levy, CEO & Lead Designer, MyVoice Inc., Katherine Hague, Co-Founder, ShopLocket,Ella Mar, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Invest Ottawa, Bilal Khan, Managing Director, oneeleven and Donovan Dill, Manager, YES Entrepreneurial Programs.
Named Canada’s Best Trade Show 2010 and 2011 and now in its ninth year, OCE’s Discovery is Canada’s premier innovation showcase. It brings together the best and brightest minds in industry, academia, investment and government to showcase leading-edge technologies, best practices and research in the areas of energy, the environment, advanced health, digital media, information and communication technologies and advanced manufacturing. The annual conference and showcase attracts more than 2,500 attendees and 350 exhibitors to the 200,000-square-foot show floor.
For more on Discovery, visit www.ocediscovery.com
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