Niagara College and Brock University have partnered to present a weekend of innovation and creativity designed to support the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Based on the popular Startup Weekend model that has reached more than 130 countries, the Niagara Young Entrepreneur Kick-Off Weekend runs Nov. 6-8 and will include the opportunity for young entrepreneurs to form a team, build an idea and pitch a business concept all in one weekend. The weekend will also include training, networking and collaboration opportunities for youth aged 18-29 who are technically skilled or curious about entrepreneurship, and hoping to receive business training. Participants may include those who are looking for co-founders for a new business, planning to launch a start-up, or looking to refine their business pitch.
“For many skilled young people, entrepreneurship leads to a highly satisfying career where they are able to commercialize those skills,” said Rachel Crane, project manager for ncTakeOff, Niagara College’s entrepreneurship hub. “This event will be an outstanding opportunity to promote entrepreneurial thinking, and to foster the creation of new businesses that will support the economy in Niagara and beyond.”
“It is incredibly rewarding to work with student entrepreneurs and see them take the necessary risks to launch a business idea,” said Dan Lynch, manager of BioLinc, Brock University’s incubation facility run by the Goodman School of Business. “Our Kick-Off Weekend is an exciting opportunity for young entrepreneurs to experience and put into practice networking, team-building, collaboration and the skills needed to effectively define and present their innovative businesses, products and services.”
The event begins Friday at 6 p.m. with a kick-off event that is open to current and future entrepreneurs and the community. Julielynn Wong, a Harvard-educated, award-winning physician, innovator and communicator who founded 3D4MD, which creates 3D printable medical supplies to support healthcare in challenging places, will speak at the event being held at Brock’s Pond Inlet.
On Friday night and Saturday, teams of participants will be formed, and over the weekend they will develop demos, start-ups and pitch presentations, and receive mentorship from local entrepreneurs and experts. On Sunday, a panel of judges will select a winner who will receive a Kick-Off Weekend prize package.
Online registration for the Niagara Young Entrepreneur Kick-Off Weekend is available at niagarayouthkickoffweekend.eventbrite.ca. The cost is $15 and includes meals. Separate registration for community members interested in the Friday night event, is available at weekend-kick-off.eventbrite.ca.
Niagara College’s ncTakeOff and Brock University BioLinc’s Kick-Starting Entrepreneurship are both funded by the On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA) program — an initiative of the Government of Ontario under the Youth Jobs Strategy and managed by Ontario Centres of Excellence. Ontario is investing $295 million over two years in the Youth Jobs Strategy to help 30,000 more young people connect with the tools, experiences and entrepreneurial support they need to find employment or start their own businesses. More than 20,000 jobs have already been created under the Youth Jobs Strategy.
Additional partners for the Niagara Young Entrepreneur Kick-Off Weekend include Innovate Niagara and the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce.