Initiative to help cancer survivors winning pitch 

CanCovery team members and second-year Fitness and Health promotion students Andrew Newton (middle) and Jorge Siqueira (right) accept the grand prize at ncTakeOff’s Social Enterprise Start-up Weekend from Meridian’s Matt Goch. Niagara College photo

Social Enterprise Start-Up event brings out student business ideas

A business initiative dedicated to helping cancer survivors return to everyday life following recovery was the winning pitch at this past weekend’s Social Enterprise Start-up event.

Hosted by the College’s entrepreneurship hub, ncTakeOff, and sponsored by Meridian Credit Union, the contest was held March 9 to 11/2018 at the College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus.

Seven teams of participating students were given 48 hours to come up with a business idea around this year’s social enterprise theme, forming a business model, and pitching them to a panel of judges, including St. Catharines mayor Walter Sendzik, executive director of Niagara Connects Mary Wiley, director of operations at Innovate Niagara N’ora Kalb, and director of small business at Meridian Credit Union Shaun Adams.

Teams also had access to industry professionals who served as mentors, helping the teams to build their pitch before their presented to judges Sunday afternoon.

The duo of second-year Health and Fitness Promotion students Andrew Newton and Jorge Siqueira wound up with top marks for CanCovery, their pitch for a fitness app that makes it easier for cancer survivors to make the transition back to everyday life.

For Newton and Siqueira, the project hit close to home – both have family members who have battled cancer. They also drew on their experiences studying with Health and Fitness Promotion instructor Jodi Steele, who has extensive experience working with cancer patients.

“We know how difficult it is for them, as well as the rest of the family,” said Newton. “Having personal experience, and listening to Jodi talk about the hardships of cancer survivors, all that motivated us to want to help as many cancer survivors as we can.”

Newton and Siqueira received a prize of $1,000 as well as professional development tools to support their start-up. They will also be automatically advanced to the second stage of the Ignite Pitch Series Competition which will be held on April 4/2018.

“The overall experience was incredible,” said Siqueira. “It was our first time ever doing a pitch in front of a crowd of judges, students and the community. To work under such a short period of time was tough, but it was also great experience that we can bring into the real world.”

Following the Social Enterprise Start-up Weekend, the second stage of the Ignite Pitch Series- Pitch Perfect event will be held at Niagara College on April 4/2018. Open to students from any Ontario college or university, the second pitch event, in turn, gives the winner a chance to advance to the Ignite Niagara community pitch competition where participants compete for a $10,000 prize and a bundle of business services valued at $30,000. Six finalists will be chosen to pitch at an evening event in May 2018 (date TBA).

Source – Niagara College press release



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