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.
Seven months have passed since I discovered this problem. Too many students are forced to place their faith in unreliable methods of finding off campus housing. While this problem may seem manageable to students who are familiar with the area, it is magnified in scale and importance when it comes to international students and their journey to Canada. My solution to this problem was to build an international student housing service that made the student’s transition seamless, so that every student who studied abroad could have the amazing experience that I did.
Once I had the idea developed enough I was guided to BioLinc by a couple friends who loved the idea, one of which even became very involved in it. After speaking with Dan Lynch who is the manager of BioLinc, I was granted full access to BioLinc and was also able to attend the networking events that they hosted. The first major event that I attended was the Kick-Starting Entrepreneurship (KSE) Start-Up Weekend. This event gave its participants a weekend to create a team, develop a business idea, and pitch the idea to a panel of judges for a grand prize package worth $10 000. As I was lucky enough to find a dream team to develop and pitch my idea with, we won the first place prize. Winning the KSE Start Up weekend effectively ignited a spark that would to propel my idea into a business.
The first place award package gave our team the resources to begin to take the idea and begin to make it a reality. We began working on the idea tirelessly and by December of 2014 (one month after winning the KSE Start Up Weekend), we became federally incorporated. We began to gain the support of various student organizations such as BUSU, the Graduate Student Association, and even international recruitment. As we gained this much needed support, we also set out sites on the next big pitch competition… Monster Pitch. As the judges for Monster Pitch are known to be high profile CEO’s and investors, we knew how high the stakes were. After our team faced some stiff competition, we were ecstatic when the four judges revealed CBH as the winners. Not only was the recognition from winning amazing, but was amplified when we were told that we were the only company to win both the KSE Start Up Weekend and Monster Pitch.
Now the winners of KSE Start Up Weekend and Monster Pitch, we aimed to expand its awareness to the University of Waterloo. As a late addition to the team, Cody Murdoch represented CBH at his own university’s Enterprise Co-op pitch competition. Cody displayed a stellar performance and ended up winning a first place, $5000 E-Launch Award. This win signifies that the spirit of innovation runs strong in not only the Waterloo region, but also Niagara.
After seven months and three pitch competition wins later, CBH has grown from a fragment of my imagination to a business that will be live by the end of May 2015. The prosperous environment, connections and information that Brock University’s BioLinc has provided -along with the amazing entrepreneurs that I am lucky enough to call team members- have allowed this business to grow as much as it has.
Chief Executive Officer
Cross Border Housing Inc.