The winners for the “Innovation” and “Goods & Services Stream” were announced during the 9th Annual Bears’ Lair Entrepreneurial Competition on Tuesday, April 30th at The Venue in downtown Peterborough. The grand prize cash value for each winner was $8,350.
For the Innovation stream, innovative eye care company Alexander Optical took the grand prize. Alexander Optical is increasing access to eye care in the community through organized pop-up clinics that bring professionals on-site to perform comprehensive eye exams and find eyewear solutions. Pop-up clinics are facilitated at locations such as schools, seniors residences and local businesses to benefit patients.
“I’m so proud to be a part of such a supportive community and have such incredible mentors that helped me get here,” says Alexander Optical founder Dylan Trepanier.
“I put my heart into the pitch and I’m feeling blessed that the audience and judges were receptive to the change we are trying to make in the community. I can’t wait to start working with more eye care professionals and employers in the area to bring services to them. I can hardly wait to see what the future holds.”
In the Goods & Services stream, Innovation Cluster health food startup Electric Juice Factory took the top prize. Cheryl Gould went in front of the judges pitching the company’s innovative smoothie puck product, successfully impressing the panel. The company recently launched the product in five flavour options in addition to its array of raw plant-based juices.
Gould expressed her gratitude toward the community that has been a continued support over social media after winning, saying, “It’s time to get to work.”
Five innovative Peterborough startups out of the Innovation Cluster program have received an accumulative $105,000 through N1M funding.
Northumberland CFDC launched the program with the support of FedDev last year to support high potential, innovation-driven enterprises in both Northumberland and across Southern Ontario. The Peterborough companies who’ve received the funding all are in the innovative technology sector, ranging from video game companies, to online educational training, to beverage products.
Innovation Cluster is located in VentureNorth building
The following are those out of the Innovation Cluster that have received funding…
• Netmechanics -> Graeme Barrie, $25,000
• Treewell -> Tyler Steeves, $20,000
• Canuck Play -> David Winter, $20,000
• Unlock Math -> Matthew and Alesia Blackwood, $20,000
• Biosphere GPS -> Jordan Ahee, $20,000
“Through this funding and with our continued support through the Innovation Cluster, these companies now have a greater ability to advance their products to market,” says Michael Skinner, President & CEO of the Innovation Cluster. “We are excited to see these companies take their innovations to its full potential.”
To be eligible, entrepreneurs must have a registered business (incorporated, sole proprietor or partnership) with annual sales under $200,000 and be able to undertake the proposed work within the next 12 months. Start-up or pre-sales businesses must exhibit a meaningful investment of time, equipment, money, or research and development in their business, and existing businesses must show a significant move towards a new product, service, or market, or commercializing intellectual property.
Bears' Lair Steering Committee Chair, Catia Skinner, announces details for the 2019 Bears’ Lair Entrepreneurial Competition on Tuesday, January 22nd, at VentureNorth.
Steering Committee Chair, Catia Skinner, says this year’s competition is driven to support winners with the financial resources and momentum that they need to boost their business and succeed.
“We hope this competition shows that Peterborough and the Kawarthas is a great place to start and grow a business, encouraging those who might be thinking about building a business to use the available resources,” says Skinner.
Applications can be completed on the Bears’ Lair website at bearslairptbo.ca and are due by Tuesday, February 26th, 2019.
The Open House featured speakers representing those that have assisted in the development of ESIC, including John Knight, Manager, Corporate Research Partnerships at Trent University; Michael Skinner, President & CEO at Innovation Cluster; and Scott Mancini, Vice President Commercial at RBC.
Scott Mancini, Vice President Commercial, RBC, speaking at Open House (John Knight at left & Michael Skinner at right)
Through ESIC, students and aspiring entrepreneurs will be able to meet at the centre with Alexandra Kuhne (Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Centre Coordinator at Trent University) and Braden Clark (Innovation Specialist at the Innovation Cluster) to gain business mentorship and community connections.
Michael Skinner noted at the Open House that the Innovation Cluster is happy to further support youth entrepreneurship through ESIC. Throughout 2018, the Innovation Cluster supported 46 youth (18 - 29) entrepreneurs in growing their business through mentorship, incubation space, mentorship and more.
John Knight noted the importance of having a centre where students can improve their “soft skills”—a trait that multiple studies over the past year have shown is what graduates lack most in the workforce. “Entrepreneurial skills can be implemented in any career,” says Knight.
A way to teach these skills will include training programs, which is made possible by RBC. Scott Mancini, Vice President Commercial of RBC, noted they are excited to support these programs and create meaningful opportunities for young entrepreneurs.
The awesome entrepreneurial competition Win This Space—a Peterborough DBIA initiative in partnership with Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development, Community Futures Peterborough and Shorelines Slots at Kawartha Downs—is back for a third year in downtown Peterborough.
Entrepreneurs have until November 16th to put together a video application and submit it to the Win This Space competition through WinThisSpace.com. The Top 10 finalists will take several workshops to fine-tune their businesses plans before a winner is chosen on March 5th by the panel of judges.
DBIA Executive Director Terry Guiel holding the Wn This Space banner during launch in VentureNorth lobby. (Photo courtesy DBIA)
The winner of the competition will have their choice of available participating downtown locations free for one year. To cover rent payments, Win This Space has sponsors adopting a month and contributing $2,000 toward the month’s lease.
“This program has been hugely successful for our downtown and has been an inspiration for communities across the country,” says Terry Guiel, Executive Director of the DBIA. “Win This Space gets people excited about the potential of what they could do with a downtown storefront. There’s only one winner, but it’s encouraging to see so many people get connected with the business services in Peterborough and go on to open a local business with the support of our community.”
Visit winthisspace.com to see the rules and regulations for applying to the competition.
Aspiring youth entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-29 will have the opportunity to pitch their startup to a panel of established judges for a chance of up to $10,000 in prizes at the Gordon Best Theatre on November 22nd at 6 p.m.
HOW TO APPLY
Those who are interested in the competition can apply online here, followed by attending a series of three mandatory workshops inside the Innovation Cluster to help them build skills in creating a business model canvas, financing, marketing, and pitching to prepare for the Lair.
During the event, finalists will be pitching to a judging panel of established business professionals that will test competitors knowledge of how they will grow the business.
The prize package of up to $10,000 includes incubator space at the Innovation Cluster, a social media package by PTBOCanada (that’s us!), two-year cash flow budgeting support by Gauvreau & Associates, with more to be announced.
The deadline to apply is October 27th. The final pitch competition will take place at the Gordon Best Theatre on November 22nd at 6 p.m.
Twenty successful applicants have been chosen to participate at Camp Startup, an adventure by FastStart Peterborough (a youth entrepreneurship training partnership that brings together Trent University, Fleming College and the Innovation Cluster).
Each participant was chosen based on their innovative business ideas required in the applications, ranging from helping the environment to increasing accessibility.
The chosen applicants (they are between the ages of 18 to 29) are: Richard Mathieu, Kasandra Gill, Abdullah Alvi, Conor Lynch, Amber Pula, Katrina Schouten, Ranvijay Singh, Sulfiya Moideen, Amitozdeep Singh, Vinny Lana, Krishma Gabba, Geoff Wolfer, Gaurav Ahuja, Erica Rankin, Reilly de Jong, Meet Nakrani, Tyson McDonald, Atam Goyal, Dylan Trepanier and Timothy Bissonnette.
Some of the aspiring entrepreneurs chosen for Camp Startup
The camp takes place September 14th to 16th, and the winning team will receive incredible new entrepreneurship skills and $500 toward their new business.
The Top 20 will hit the ground running on the Friday evening (September 14th), as the campers arrive at Camp Kawartha for an icebreaker. This will be followed on Saturday and Sunday by team-building exercises while implementing their own enterprise ideas.
To end the experience on Sunday, campers in their group will pitch to a panel of established judges in entrepreneurship and business. The winning team will split $500 cash to go towards entrepreneurial pursuits.
Many past participants of the experience have since went on to build businesses through both the FastStart program and the Innovation Cluster.
Nadine McCallen (pictured below), this year’s winner of Win This Space entrepreneurial competition, has opened the doors to her new shop Ritual Apothecary on Charlotte Street in downtown Peterborough. As part of the grand prize, McCallen has received one year of free rent in a downtown storefront.
Photo courtesy DBIA
McCallen describes the store this way: “It will be the home of The Willow’s Bark studio, which creates wildcrafted skincare and herbal remedies from locally foraged plants, as well as other like-minded companies producing all-natural, small-batch, sustainable beauty products, herbal remedies, and artisan goods with care and attention to protecting our natural habitat."
Based on the Kawartha Backcountry Entrepreneurship Experience, FastStart Peterborough is launching a new and improved experience for young entrepreneurs called Camp Startup.
Camp Startup has been created to inspire youth entrepreneurs and take them out of their comfort zone. It takes place between September 14th to Septemer 16th at Camp Kawartha, through FastStart Peterborough (a partnership between Trent University, Fleming College and the Innovation Cluster).
Photo courtesy Innovation Cluster
The group of 20 successful entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 - 29 will get to pack a bag and head out to Camp Kawartha for a full weekend of teamwork exercises—helping to increase the skills of those of entering the world of entrepreneurship. In order to reduce barriers to entry, the bootcamp will be free for the 20 successful applicants.
Photo courtesy Innovation Cluster
“Our unique entrepreneurship programming allows for young entrepreneurs to get out of their comfort zone and learn in a different environment,” says Rosalea Terry, Marketing Manager and Senior Innovation Specialist of the Innovation Cluster. “They will gain new business skills while building relationships with like-minded people.”
The weekend event will start out with participants arriving at Camp Kawartha Friday evening and spend time getting to know their fellow entrepreneurs. Saturday and Sunday will consist of various workshops and activities that will be sure to push entrepreneurial limits, including pitching, canoeing, a high ropes course, and a traditional event of the program, the "creative campfire rap battle".
Photo courtesy Innovation Cluster
The young entrepreneurs will also be able to take advantage of multiple skill-gaining activities to help build their entrepreneurship knowledge—including pitching, finances, grant applications and more that will be beneficial to their future business ventures.
The weekend will wrap up with a final pitching challenge that the participants will be working towards throughout the trip. The winning team will receive a $500 cash prize.
Applications for the adventure closes on July 26th at midnight. To apply, click here.