Niagara young entrepreneurs took stage during “Improve Your Pitch” weekend hosted by BioLinc

(Left to right: Adrienne-Marie Lloren, founder of GetAmped; Madi Fuller, founder of Campus Brainiac)

It was an exciting time for entrepreneurs last weekend! Nineteen Niagara-based young entrepreneurs participated in the “Improve Your Pitch” weekend hosted by BioLinc, Brock University’s business incubator run by the Goodman School of Business. This weekend event was part of the BioLinc’s Kick-Starting Entrepreneurship Program, a program designed for Niagara-based young entrepreneurs aged 18-29 to sharpen their entrepreneurial skills.

In particular, the “Improve Your Pitch” weekend featured a workshop on Product and Process Design by Prof. Michael Armstrong, who teaches operations management at the Goodman School of Business, and a panel discussion that included John Wilson, Director of Brock’s Office of Research Services, Rachel Crane, Manager of Niagara College’s ncTakeOff and Alex McKee, founder of Millennial Exchange, about entrepreneur support services available in Niagara. Kelly Provost and Graham Lowe from the St. Catharines Enterprise Centre also delivered a comprehensive workshop about entrepreneur funding opportunities and local business regulations. 

The pitch competition started on Saturday afternoon. Each entrepreneur had three minutes to pitch their business ideas, followed by a “mentor speed-dating” event featuring experienced entrepreneurs, community leaders and Brock alumni. Mentors met with young entrepreneurs to give advice and feedback on their business ideas and pitch performance. After a night of revision and preparation, the final pitch competition took place on Sunday afternoon. Based on performance of the two pitches, judges chose winners of the Best Pitch and Most Improved Pitch awards. According to judges’ feedback, everyone had improved significantly in terms of structure, confidence and expression.

Brock student Madison Fuller, founder of Campus Brainiac, won the Best Pitch award, while Brock alumna Adrienne Marie Lloren (BSc ’15), founder of GetAmped, won the Most Improved Pitch award.

Judges commented on Lloren’s improvement, saying she went from reading from her notes on the first day to speaking to the audience with such confidence. Lloren said she greatly benefited from the speed-dating event with mentors and got different perspectives that helped her improve. After over 100 practices, and with her “live your dream” energy and attitude, she delivered a stunning presentation.

“Never be afraid of being different,” she said.

That’s the same philosophy she uses to run GetAmped, a video marketing company that helps small businesses amplify their marketing messages, with the highest possible degree of passion and energy.

As for Fuller, she consistently delivered a high-quality pitch from the beginning. Starting with her first business idea pitch from last year’s Kick-start Weekend, she has been getting increasingly confident and comfortable with presentations. Fuller’s advice for delivering an effective pitch is to tell a compelling and convincing story. Campus Brainiac has been progressing since last October and she hopes to help more students find tutors effectively through her business. Campus Brainiac connects tutors and tutees through an easy-to-use mobile app. She hopes to launch the website by the end of February and the app in April. She is very positive about the future of Campus Brainiac and is looking forward to expanding to the United States once it proves its success in Canada.

Thanks to everyone to who made the “Improve Your Pitch” weekend event a success and to the young entrepreneurs in Niagara who attended.

By: Chris Jia

BioLinc Ambassador

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GOULBOURNE: Niagara’s turn to take its shot


(A crowd gathered last year to watch Airbus Helicopters and Niagara Helicopters announce their new partnership in Fort Erie.)

Wayne Gretzky once said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”

Seems like a simple strategy, but it really isn’t. It requires the right balance of knowledge, skill and attitude to recognize a pattern, then the courage to take the right action at the right time.

So where is the puck going in Niagara?

There are clear signs that aerospace manufacturing has taken root in the region. National leaders like Fleet Canada Inc. and Airbus Helicopter Canada have made strategic investments in Niagara that reveal their confidence in their people.

Homegrown companies like start-up Northern Drones, or experienced innovators like Accipiter and Aero-Safe Technologies are demonstrating we can create aerospace jobs in Niagara. It also appears Fort Erie has become a hub for this sector.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see Fort Erie lead the diversification of Niagara’s manufacturing sector?

The desire to take action to retain the young talent that exists in Niagara is a priority of regional council and it appears others are joining their call.

Brock University BioLinc co-ordinator Cassie Price and Niagara College ncTakeOff project manager Rachel Crane teamed up this past November to host the first Niagara Young Entrepreneur Kick-Off Weekend. This successful event gave local young entrepreneurs the opportunity to network and then create, plan and pitch their business start-up ideas.

We must help those who are helping these and other millennials become our future employers.

Niagara’s health-care providers, post-secondary institutions and economic development agencies believe collaboration can lead to economic spinoffs for our region. The Brock News reported “entrepreneurs and policymakers take advantage of readily available or emerging technologies, work in collaboration with healthcare facilities, and engage the community to embrace the potential; it could result in huge opportunities for Niagara to be a provincial and global leader in healthcare initiatives.”

Niagara College’s Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, currently under construction, could be the missing piece to our region’s genuine entry into the medical device manufacturing sector.

The movement of goods is critical to the vitality of a community, and Niagara possesses the Welland Canal, one of the finest and most unappreciated infrastructure assets in the country.

Due to co-operation of five municipalities and the Region, Niagara now has a tax grant incentive (Gateway CIP) businesses can access if they build facilities and create jobs in key areas around the canal.

Vance Badawey, recently elected MP for Niagara Centre (and former mayor of Port Colborne) stated leveraging Canada’s canal corridor is a top priority for him in Ottawa. We now have a seasoned leader ready to champion this national strategic resource and leverage its local untapped potential.

As these initiatives begin to get more attention, there will be some among us who will doubt the potential that exists for success in one or more of these areas.

Consider this: since 2006, Welland Minor Hockey has produced Cal Clutterbuck (New York Islanders), Daniel Girardi (New York Rangers), Matt Ellis (Buffalo Sabres and Rochester Americans), Paul Bissonnette (Phoenix Coyotes and currently with Los Angeles Kings AHL affiliate), Jamie Tardif (Boston Bruins) and Dan Paille (Stanley Cup winner with the Boston Bruins, who last week signed a deal with the New York Rangers).

As Welland Tribune sports editor Bernd Franke helped me understand, “players in the AHL are one phone call away from going to — or returning to — the NHL.”

The chances of going from minor hockey to a steady National Hockey League career are roughly one in 4,000, according to a study completed by Jim Parcels, a 13-year veteran of Ontario minor and junior hockey.

These young athletes, with the help of their parents, coaches, teammates, trainers, sport medicine practitioners, arena staff and minor hockey personnel, beat the odds.

Niagara can also beat the odds if it works collaboratively to tap into the potential that exists in our local businesses, not-for-profit organizations, educational systems and art/cultural associations.

Gretzky believed “you miss 100 per cent of the shots you never take.”

Niagara, you know where the puck is going. It’s our time to take the shot.

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Damian Goulbourne was mayor of Welland from 2003 to 2010 and has been a Niagara College faculty member in the Business, Hospitality & Environmental division since 1999.

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Brock’s BioLinc receives provincial funding to support young Niagara entrepreneurs

Young entrepreneurs in Niagara will reap the rewards of provincial funding for BioLinc, Brock University’s incubation facility run by the Goodman School of Business.

Support provided by the Government of Ontario’s Youth Entrepreneurship Partnerships (YEP) program will allow BioLinc to launch the Niagara Youth Entrepreneurship Network (NYEN), which will bring various organizations in Niagara together to deliver a more focused approach to programming for entrepreneurs between the ages of 12 and 29. Continue reading

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It’s time to quit your day job if you understand these startup tricks!

Are you an ambitious entrepreneur? Do you know when to quit your day job and pursue your own passion? At the beginning of our Kick-Starting Entrepreneurship (KSE) program offered this year by our incubator BioLinc, we tried this new move – giving every KSEers a book called STARTUP OPPORTUNITIES written by Sean Wise & Brad Feld. As this book provides valuable startup knowledge and inspiration with our student entrepreneurs. Continue reading
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Groundbreaking collaboration to promote entrepreneurship in Niagara Region

(People in photo from left to right: Wajeeh Alvi, Camilo Uribe, Asad Jalib, Matthew Burnip, Brendan Farray, Patrick Deshwal)

The Niagara Youth Entrepreneur Kick-Off Weekend was all about great energy, inspiration and entrepreneurship.

Co-hosted by the Goodman School of Business BioLinc at Brock University and ncTakeOff at Niagara College, this event was a great collaboration effort to promote entrepreneurship in the Niagara region for young entrepreneurs. Continue reading

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Brock Sport Management finishes second in the PrimeTime Sports and Entertainment Case Competition

BioLinc student entrepreneur Matthew Paladino and sport management students Seth Mendelsohn, Kimberly Lennon and Brandon Currie competed this past weekend at the PrimeTime Sports & Entertainment Sport Innovation Case Competition at Ryerson University in Toronto. Their team, From Cancer to Cure, finished second place overall out of seven teams. Teams of three to four students representing York University, Ryerson University, Laurentian University and Schulich School of Business competed against each other for a chance to win $2,000. Continue reading

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A World in a Week – My experience at the Enactus World Cup 2015

 “I went in to make a video, a few months later, I was in South Africa.”

As acting VP of Marketing and resident artsy kid for @BrockEnactus, I was tasked with reviewing our experience at the Enactus World Cup 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Sometimes documenting an experience like this can be difficult.. Continue reading

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Don’t just say it, do it! – By Chris Jia

My name is Chris Jia, a third year Bachelor of Business Administration (Co-op) student at the Goodman School of Business. Last year, I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the first cohort of the Kick-Starting Entrepreneurship Program (KSE) offered by Brock University’s on-campus business incubator. I could still recall the practicality and intensity of this training program, but on top of all information acquired, I walked away with tons of motivation and inspiration that sustain every entrepreneur’s life.
When I first heard that the KSE program application was open, Continue reading
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Niagarabuzz of WeChat Interviews BioLinc

Startup at BioLinc! Want to startup a business and immigrate to Canada? Niagara Region’s BioLinc might become your one-stop shopping center.

Dan Lynch, Manager of BioLinc
Cassie Price, BioLinc Coordinator

Interviewer: Chris & Nancy from Niagarabuzz of WeChat


It is our pleasure today to have Dan, manager of BioLinc, and Cassie, coordinator at BioLinc for a short interview. The purpose of this interview is to share some information about BioLinc to our both local and international Chinese entrepreneurs and investors, through our Niagarabuzz of WeChat media platform. We wish that this report could provide some useful information regarding startup businesses and related immigration policy in Canada. Continue reading

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Guest Blog from Alex Mohr on how Cross Border Housing Inc. started!

Once I had returned from a life changing experience studying abroad in my third year at Brock, I was back in Canada constantly reflecting on how amazing my journey was. As I became increasingly reminiscent of my time abroad, I wanted to get myself back into the international student realm and eager to give other students an experience that I found myself becoming close with many of the international students at Brock and while doing so found a major pain point in the transition to Canadian society. Continue reading

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