$500 cash prize to winning team in a ‘Dragons’ Den’ style pitch

Budding entrepreneurs will have their opportunity staring Friday, January 27 to pitch their solution to address global agriculture and food challenges at Niagara College’s Agri-Food Startup Weekend.

Modelled after Google’s well known Startup Weekend, the college’s ncTakeoff program with sponsorship by Meridian will host teams of participants to prepare and present solutions in a ‘Dragons’ Den’ style pitch.

“This event provides a platform where participants from different perspectives – greenhouse tech to computer programming to sales and marketing and beyond – can come together and explore ways to apply their skills,” said ncTakeoff project manager Rachel Crane.

“The Agri-Food Startup Weekend, part of our region’s Meridian Ignite! series strategy, will inspire innovation and entrepreneurial action towards issues that matter.”

Crane said participants can develop their proposed solutions into business models. “The goal is not only to have a great, fun learning experience but also to meet potential co-founders and launch startups,” she added.

The weekend kicks off Friday at NC’s Welland campus with the keynote presentation by award-winning horticulturalist and NC alumni David Pratt. Teams will then be formed to work together throughout the weekend to finally deliver their pitch presentations on Sunday at 2 p.m. The winning team, as selected by a panel of experts (see below), will receive $500 and in-kind services.


Agri-Food Startup Weekend, by ncTakeoff, part of the Meridian (Credit Union) Ignite! series strategy.


Niagara College’s Welland campus, 100 Niagara College Blvd.


Friday, January 27, AH141 Auditorium:
5 p.m. networking.
5:30 p.m. keynote speaker David Pratt.

Saturday, January 28, Various locations, Welland campus:
9:30 a.m.-10 p.m. workshops.

Sunday, January 29, S160 Auditorium:
9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. pitch practice by teams.

2 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Pitch presentations (open to the public). Judges: Dean McCall, Entrepreneur in Residence, Pearson Canada; Christine Merrrick, Senior Project Solutions Manager, CMSIntelligence; and Derek Schulze, Professor, School of Environment, NC.


Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs, as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, business, applied health and community safety, all supported by unique learning enterprises and community partnerships. www.niagaracollege.ca

ncTakeoff is the college’s on-campus entrepreneurship activities program, supported by the Government of Ontario and Ontario Centres of Excellence, to grow student entrepreneurship by reducing barriers for student and recent graduate entrepreneurs; integrating with regional business support resources; and providing experiential opportunities for the next generation of innovators. ncTakeoff.ca
Media inquiries, contact:

Susan McConnell
Media Advisor, Niagara College
Office: 905 641-2252 ext. 4330