In the Northeast, the Zena’s Sports Centre team of (left-right) Sophie LaRouche, Dan Trivers, Kyle Reinhardt (on bike), Krista Dubeault and Noah Saunders, took home top honours in the Health and Wellness category for their biking and outdoor activity business idea.
It took the perfect pitch and an elite-level business plan for the regional champions to be crowned at the 2015 Enterprise Olympics. Following an exciting competition that included Dragon's Den-type word sparring sessions, two teams of future entrepreneurs secured first place in their respective regions, an honour that included a $1000 scholarship to a Northern Ontario university or college of their choice.
With regional competitions taking place in both Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie, more than 300 students from across Northern Ontario had the opportunity to develop their business idea, prepare a business plan, and to make their pitch to a panel of judges. This year's winners included a Sault Ste. Marie team that developed a plan to establish a sporting business featuring biking tours and other exciting outdoor activities, as well as a Thunder Bay crew that created a watch designed to enhance the safety of seniors.
"I really enjoyed participating in the Enterprise Olympics," said Sally Potter, one of the student participants from the Timiskaming District Secondary School in New Liskeard, Ontario. "I learned leadership skills and teamwork, how to create a professional business plan and how to come up with ideas and use our creativity to develop them on the spot. The experience was fantastic and I would definitely participate again."
Hosted through the FedNor-funded Head Start in Business initiative, this annual two-day event was modeled after the hit television show, Dragon's Den. It aims to inspire and motivate young people as they go on an adventure of entrepreneurial self-discovery. Students choose from a variety of business sectors including health and wellness, retail, technology and innovation, arts and culture, mining and forestry, as well as social enterprises. They spend a day surrounded by mentors who impart their own personal experience and insight into what it took to turn their passion into a successful business.
(Left-right): Students Levi Maxton, Liam Wrigley, Nicole Verville, James McKay and Logan Reid, representing northwestern Ontario, took home top prize in the Technology and Innovation category for their Watch Your Step initiative.
"We had an amazing turnout for this year's event, proving that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well across Northern Ontario," said Cindy Reasbeck, Program Manager, Head Start in Business initiative. "This next generation of entrepreneurs showed us that they are ready to take on the challenge of pursuing self-employment as a viable career path."
Students had the opportunity to work with coaches and mentors in each sector to perfect their ideas and business plans.
Enterprise Olympics is administered by the North Claybelt Community Futures Development Corporation, in collaboration with other Northern Ontario Community Futures organizations, and is one of many programs supported by FedNor to deliver youth entrepreneurship training throughout Northern Ontario.