Social Enterprise Start-Up Weekend brings out student business ideas


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

Hosted by entrepreneurship hub, ncTakeOff, and sponsored by Meridian Credit Union, the contest was held March 9 to 11 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 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 on the final day of the competition.

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 make 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.

“We know how difficult it is for them, as well as the rest of the family,” said Newton.

They also drew on their experiences studying with Health and Fitness Promotion instructor Jodi Steele, who has extensive experience working with cancer patients.

“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,” said Newton.

Newton and Siqueira received a prize of $1,000 cash 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.

“The overall experience was incredible,” said Siqueira. “It was our first time ever doing a pitch in front of a crowd of judges, studentsand 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.”

Share this article