Niagara Sports Network Claims Victory at 3rd Annual Young Entrepreneurs Kick-Off Weekend

There was a sense of entrepreneurial spirit in the air this weekend as local youth put their business ideas and pitching skills to the test. From Friday November 4 to Sunday November 6, BioLinc (Brock’s business incubator) and Niagara College collaborated to run their 3rd annual Young Entrepreneur Kick-Off Weekend hosted at Brock University. This event targeted Niagara youth age 18-29 looking to gain skills and knowledge on entrepreneurship.

This fun educational weekend started off with a keynote presentation Friday night from former Brock Graduate and creator of Stathletes, Meghan Chayka. Meghan presented her experience as a young entrepreneur and the hardships she overcame to become the successful individual she is today. Following the keynote teams were formed based on the skills and ideas they brought to the table. On Saturday teams collaborated on their ideas to build a strong pitch that they would present to a panel of judges later in the weekend. Participants also attended training sessions on the Business Model Canvas and Pitching to Investors to better develop their ideas and presentation skills. Teams worked late into Saturday preparing their pitches that would be presented the following morning.

Sunday came quickly for the hard working entrepreneurs and the energy in Pond Inlet was electric as teams waited their turn to impress the judges in hopes to secure first place and the prize package worth $5,000. After the panel of expert judges from Brock University and Niagara College witnessed ten impressive teams pitch their business idea, it was the team of Robert Babiak and Daniel Read, founders of Niagara Sports Network that took first place. Their idea to promote local sports within their communities through web articles and live streaming of the events impressed the judges. Robert demonstrated their competitive advantage by live streaming the presentation and showing the judges his ability to display graphics and updates in real time. The judges were also impressed with their ability to scale the business quickly. Robert is currently the VP of the Lincoln Mavericks Jr. A hockey club, he also holds the record for being the youngest general manager in North American professional sports.

BioLinc and Niagara College are happy with the success of the weekend and hope that it continues to grow with more teams participating year after year.

To see highlights of the event visit here.

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The Founder Institute helps BioLinc entrepreneur develop LENDU

According to The Founder Institute, the best way to learn is by doing, and we couldn’t agree more with their experiential approach. Student entrepreneurs who are part of The Founder Institute programming participate in a four-month journey of structured curriculum which includes weekly training courses and business-building assignments.

BioLinc student entrepreneur Lenford Morris (above) recently graduated from the fourth cohort of The Founder Institute’s Toronto program along with 16 other entrepreneurs including Goodman School of Business graduate Alex Fung (BBA ’15).

Morris’s company, LendU, is one of 59 companies to graduate from the Toronto program at large.

“Being in the fourth cohort was a very interesting experience because there was a lot of diversity when it came to people in the program and their professional backgrounds,” Lenford said.

To match the diversity within the program, mentors holding various positions came to hear the cohort pitch their business ventures. Among the mentors were entrepreneurs, CEOs, lawyers, angel investors and venture capitalists.

The intensive program was first started in Silicon Valley and now has chapters all over the world. The Founder Institute walks entrepreneurs through the idea stage to developing a minimum-viable-product and getting customers, a walk that Morris found to be beneficial.

“I benefitted the most from the acceleration process and learning how to validate and test my product offerings,” he said. “The structure of the FI curriculum really pushed my business to new heights by prompting me to ensure what I am offering is a real solution to the problem that I am solving and that the problem is actually a real problem.”

The curriculum started with idea and customer development, then moved to company and team formation, product development and distribution and go-to-market, bootstrapping and fundraising.

Beyond the acceleration process, Morris highly values the peer-to-peer connections he made within the program.

“Being connected with people who shared the same mindset was important because building a startup into a company can really wear you down physically and mentally at times, being around the right people can help point you in the right direction,” he said.

Morris highly recommends the program to anyone who has a startup idea or is ready to start conducting market research.

“The Founder Institute is a good way to help validate and test your idea, and then built it up to its fullest potential,” he said.

Morris has spent the summer on marketing, building his product and raising funds for LendU and is planning on partnering with alumni associations and hiring ambassadors across Ontario to target their customers.

LendU has already accomplished so much this summer and with a number of exciting things ahead, we can’t wait to see the company continue to flourish.

Full list of startup companies that graduated from the fourth cohort of The Founder Institute: http://betakit.com/founder-institute-toronto-graduates-17-new-startups-in-fourth-cohort/

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BioLinc Student Entrepreneur Joins Lincoln Mavericks

Niagara based student entrepreneur and 2015/2016 Kick-Starting Entrepreneurship program participant, Robert Babiak, was recently named Vice-President of Operations of the Lincoln Mavericks Hockey Club. The Mavericks, owned by Jeff and Therese Tallman, are a Junior “A” hockey team, which will be playing out of the Greater Metro Junior “A” Hockey League (GMHL).

“I am very excited to be part of the Lincoln Mavericks and the GMHL. Together, we will do great things. Our owners and coaching staff are all great people with strong hockey backgrounds. Together, we will make the Lincoln Mavericks one of the premier Jr. “A” hockey franchises in Ontario.” Babiak said.

He continued, “Our coaching staff is very experienced. Head Coach, Mark Barrick, has a long history of coaching Jr. hockey. The Mavericks will be operating a development focused program that will provide our athletes everything they need to succeed.”

Robert, who recently completed his third year of Brock University’s Sports Management program, has been pursuing a business venture of his own. He has been running his sport agency, Silverhawk Sport Management, out of BioLinc over the last eight months. His agency currently represents the baseball interests of twelve professional baseball players. Prior to launching Silverhawk Sport Management, Robert was the General Manager of the Road City Explorers of the North Country Professional Baseball League, where he made history by becoming the youngest General Manager in professional baseball at age 20.

Our team at BioLinc is excited to see where Robert’s entrepreneurial spirit and passion for sports will take him next, and we’re proud to announce his most recent accomplishment. We wish him luck on his new journey as Vice-President of Operations!

The Mavericks will drop their first puck this September at the Fleming Centre in Beamsville, ON.

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Niagara Hosts Entrepreneurship Week

Brock University celebrated the second annual “Entrepreneurship Week” last month from March 21- 24th, with many major entrepreneurship advocacy forces joining the party this year. This year, the ripples have been expanding to younger age groups and a wider geographical range of youth from across Niagara participating in activities throughout Entrepreneurship Week. We, at BioLinc, have been v pleased to collaborate with Brock University Students’ Union, Niagara College’s ncTakeOff, Niagara College Student Administrative Council, Brock Innovation Group and many other supporting organizations to make this happen! Continue reading

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Updated FAQs about BioLinc

1. Where is BioLinc located?

Brock’s business incubator BioLinc (Cairns 209), is located in the Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex (CFHBC) on Brock University’s main campus. The CFHBC advances Canada’s science and technology infrastructure and houses world-class work by researchers in areas like cancer, infectious diseases, biotechnology and green chemistry. With BioLinc located in the CFHBC, BioLinc’s residents will be able to capitalize on the innovative research and knowledge transfer that happens in the complex. Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

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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.” Continue reading

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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. 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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