A myriad of career paths exist for young professionals today, and for those who choose entrepreneurship, the path can be both daunting and rewarding. For this reason, Haltech decided to launch a new and exciting business plan competition, called Build Your Own Business (BYOB) Challenge specifically for young entrepreneurs and students residing in Halton Region. The competition began with a business plan submission in January and culminated on Thursday February 23, 2017 with a with a final pitch event that was hosted at Sheridan College’s Oakville campus in the Marquee Club. The event featured 6 finalists unleashing their creativity as they pitched their business idea to a large crowd, competing for cash and in-kind prizes valued at over $20,000.
The Grand Prize winner of the BYOB Challenge was ToolLinked, a Burlington-based tech startup with a mission to rebuild the manufacturing community in Canada, one tool at a time. Lead by co-founder Ana Morales, this team from DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University has developed an online platform to connect manufacturers & toolmakers and enable them to collaborate on new manufacturing business opportunities. The team had submitted a well-structured business plan and a solid pitch, earning them the first place spot with $13,000 value of cash and in-kind professional services from Haltech and partners across Halton region.
Healthy Pets, an Oakville based veterinary tech startup secured the Runner Up award with a passionate pitch delivered by founder Emma Harris, with support of Bo, her pet Golden Retriever and Chief Inspiration Officer. The startup wants to revolutionize the way Canadian pet owners access veterinary care with an 24/7 online video consultation service with licensed veterinarians. Healthy Pets not only earned a prize valued at $7,000 in cash and in-kind professional services, but also won the online vote for People’s Choice Award at the pitch finale event.
Haltech was delighted to partner with Sheridan College to present the BYOB Challenge this year, which was made possible by the valuable prize contributions from event sponsors including SB Partners LLP, FreshInsights Consulting and O’Connor MacLeod Hanna LLP, as well as the expertise of the judging panel: Marybeth Edge (BDC), Blair Patton (Dan Lawrie Insurance Brokers), Frank McKeown (Burlington Economic Development Corporation), Judy Lindenbach (Haltech Entrepreneur-in-Residence), Wayne Maddever (Haltech Entrepreneur-in-Residence).
“This was a fun and exciting business plan competition that showcased the talent and creativity of Halton’s own young tech entrepreneurs. We hope that this becomes an annual celebration of creative entrepreneurial ideas to continue on with the support of our many partners across Halton region”, said Rina Carlini, President & CEO of Haltech Regional Innovation Centre.