News – Innovation and Enterprise Centre

The latest information from the St. FX Extension Department’s Innovation and Enterprise Centre in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

2018 Wallace Family Summer Internship Application is Now Open!

2018 Wallace Family Summer Internship Application is Now Open!

The Wallace Family Summer Internship will provide StFX University (StFX) students with a self-directed learning experience that helps strengthen entrepreneurial skills through the exploration and development of their own innovative enterprise endeavour. Students who have an innovative idea and who are interested in starting a new venture, developing a new prototype or applying innovative approaches to a particular product or service are encouraged to apply. Interns receive coaching and assistance from StFX Extension Innovation and Enterprise Centre staff and faculty mentors and engage in learning activities that help them explore and develop an enterprise. Business incubation space will be provided to all interns and discussions with investors and partners are encouraged. Perhaps most importantly, interns have the opportunity to work together and participate in a learning experience for innovative student entrepreneurs – offering award winners the chance to network and be exposed to mini-seminars, guest speakers, and other entrepreneurial ideas.

The internships support full-time employment for StFX students for a 12 week period during the summer (May-July) period, the funding provided through the Wallace Family Entrepreneurship Fund. In 2018, there are four internships available, worth up to $6000 each, or $10,000 for a team. The internships are open to students enrolled in full-time study at StFX.

Find more information here.

 


Spotlight Series Video Competition

Spotlight Series Video Competition Results

Third place – $300

Congratulations to our third-place winner, Sam Gan, for sharing his frosh year entrepreneurial venture – Trekker Tuck. To begin his journey, Sam recognized an opportunity where he could develop a cost-effective business to provide an array of snack items to students in the MacKinnon Hall residence at StFX. Due to the lack of late night food options available within a short walk of MacKinnon Hall, Sam saw a chance to provide snacks to students in residence for the cost of the item plus a small fee. Sam kept records of his inventory in an Excel file and was constantly adapting to changing customer preferences. Sam is a local entrepreneur that leveraged his position in a residence of 130 students to provide valued goods to students in a mutually beneficial setting.

Congratulations Sam!


 


Innovation Pitch Event

November 3rd marked the first-ever Innovation Pitch Event that was co-hosted with Dr. Neil Maltby, a professor at the Schwartz School of Business, and the Innovation and Enterprise Centre. The event was created to serve as a platform for students with innovative ideas for new products or services to share their ideas and receive constructive feedback from an audience of motivated students, local business owners and industry professionals. Due to networking efforts of the Innovation and Enterprise Centre, the event drew in a diverse crowd of participants from various disciplines and audience members.

This year, with the support from the StFX Extension Innovation and Enterprise Centre and the relationships created with various faculty stakeholders across campus, this event had tremendous success in attracting students in the university to come forward and express their interests in product development.

4th year BBA Entrepreneurship student, Hannah Chisholm, shared her product pitch known as Egg-citables – a plant-based egg substitute product that is aimed at meeting the needs of people with egg allergies or choose not to consume products made with animal by-products. Hannah was able to use the Innovation Pitch Event to critique her product and go-to-market approach while considering suggestions from industry professionals after successfully completing her summer internship with the Wallace Family Internship this past summer.

Furthermore, Michael Keough, a 4th year BSc Human Nutrition student, pitched his Apple & Blueberry Pomace-based snack product idea. Despite still being in the early product-development stage, Michael was able to capture the attention of the professional audience members with his innovative idea of creating a food product that is environmentally conscious and nutritious that compliments the current market trend towards healthier snacks. From this event, Michael was able to use the feedback from the audience members to help him get a better understanding of his offering, what will drive demand and other important considerations. Michael was thrilled to be able to get constructive feedback from proven members of the local business community and looks forward to continue developing his product.

The StFX Extension Innovation and Enterprise Centre looks forward to collaborating with other interest-groups and organizing more opportunities like the Innovation Pitch Event to spark entrepreneurial spirit on campus.

 


Conversation for the Common Good Series to Antigonish

Thursday October 26, 2017, StFX Innovation and Enterprise Centre partnered with Common Good Solutions (CGS) and the Social Enterprise Network of Nova Scotia (SENNS) to bring their Conversations for the Common Good Series to Antigonish. These gatherings are designed to bring entrepreneurs and change-makers together with residents of the local community to act as a starting point for addressing a challenge their community is facing, or simply to learn more about what social enterprise is and how it can work for the local community.

As our rural communities continue to struggle with youth retention and economic prosperity, social enterprise provides an exciting opportunity for rural business to thrive; meeting not only the goal of building businesses and creating jobs, but also working to solve some of the social and environmental challenges our communities are facing.

The event featured a number of local social enterprises including Krista Thompson of Paqtnkek First Nation. Krista lives in Paqtnkek First Nation and is the founder of the Mi’kmaq Crafters’ Association. She is an avid Mi’kmaq crafter who has brought together talented Mi’kmaq crafters and artisans from across Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Quebec to form the board of this new non-profit organization. The Mi’kmaq Crafters’ Association provides high quality cultural, social and entrepreneurial opportunities for Mi’maq artisans in Atlantic Canada.


Summer Launch’s Young Entrepreneurs

 

Ben Kennedy

Kennedy’s Cubes

Contact: (902) 783-2043

Ben Kennedy has been working hard this summer making, preparing and selling bags of ice from his home in Lochaber, NS. Each bag is approximately 8 pounds and sells for $3.50 and can be picked up by stopping in at the family home where Ben will happily retrieve your much-needed ice from his freezer. Customers can also purchase ice lakeside from the family’s dock and make orders in advance by calling Ben directly.

Ben originally started working in the ice business with his brother Alex 5 years ago. At the time Alex was interested in making money to purchase a four-wheeler. By working with his brother, Ben learned that in order to get the things that he wanted he would have to work for them and earn them himself.

By operating his own business Ben has learned that being an entrepreneur can be challenging at times as you have to stay on top of things and making sure that you refill your ice trays to keep up with demand. Being a business owner can also be fun, meeting new people and making some extra spending money is always a positive experience.

This summer Ben learned that if you have a business it has to be your own project and that if you do a good job people will say nice things to you. He also learned that business ideas do not have to be complicated – sometimes it can just be water and trays!

With the help of Summer Launch Ben was able to get new business cards and some new ideas on how to further develop his business idea. He was also able to purchase a bigger upright freezer to make and store a larger amount of ice.

Caleb Peters

Caleb’s Lawns and More

Contact: calebpeters2017@hotmail.com

Caleb Peters worked hard this summer offering lawn care services to members of his community. He was able to meet new customers with the help of his family’s connections and promoting the business on social media. Caleb also used email to communicate with his prospective clients and set up times to provide his services.

As Caleb is too young to work a full summer job he found starting a business to be a great way to spend his time and be active in the community. When coming up with his business idea he thought back to the various activities that he had done in the past and the resources he had at hand to come up with “Caleb’s Lawns and More”.

Running a business for the summer came with many ups and downs, but Caleb was prepared for these events and anticipated there would be challenges along the way. One of the biggest things he learned by operating his business was self-discipline and that you really have to focus on your goals in order to make the activity successful.

Caleb is very pleased with how his summer went and is proud of his accomplishments. He received many compliments on his work throughout the summer which made him feel good about himself and the work he was doing. He is also pleased with the new skills that he learned such as changing the oil in his lawnmower and getting the word out about his business. In the future Caleb plans on exploring other entrepreneurial activities and continuing to work on building his personal brand.

Katie MacNeil

Fizz Bath Products

Contact: www.facebook.com/fizzbathproducts/

Katie MacNeil, along with her business partner Brooke, makes and sells various naturally sourced bath products. Their product selection includes bath bombs, body butter, and bath crumble. The pair intend to add more scents and products as they learn more about their customers’ interests. The pair can often be found selling their products at the Antigonish Farmers’ Market, Art Fair, and direct to the consumer through their Facebook page.

Fizz Bath Products was born when Katie and Brooke decided to make bath bombs and body butter for their 4-H demonstration. They decided to build on their original demonstration and make it their summer business activity as they thought it would be something neat to do over the summer months and allow them to learn more about running a business.

Katie didn’t really know what to expect when starting up her business – other than that she would have to make a product to sell. However, through trial and error and with the help of her partner and parents she learned about budgeting for supplies, organizing time, and how to better improve her product.

The most important skill Katie learned this summer was the importance of communication. Having good communication leads to a stronger partnership. A strong partnership will often lead to a good business.

Brooke MacDonald

Fizz Bath Products

Contact: www.facebook.com/fizzbathproducts/

Brooke MacDonald, along with her business partner Katie, makes and sells various naturally sourced bath products. Their product selection includes bath bombs, body butter, and bath crumble. The pair intend to add more scents and products as they learn more about their customers’ interests. The pair can often be found selling their products at the Antigonish Farmers’ Market, Art Fair, and direct to the consumer through their Facebook page.

While Brooke has had other jobs in the past, running a business for the summer was something very new to her. However, she found the transition to business owner to be quite valuable in that it taught her to be patient and wait for the return on her investment, to respond to consumer needs and preferences, and to find the best locations to sell their products. She also learned to improve the recipes used with her partner and to find the best source of ingredients.

Brooke, as well as her partner Katie, have found interacting with the public to be quite fun. It has taught them how to better sell their product to those walking by their table and to get out and attract attention. They have also had many fun and exciting interactions with members of the public as they explain their product and the many benefits it offers.

Overall Brooke greatly enjoyed working on her business this summer with her partner Katie and is very proud of the accomplishments that they made individually and together. She also enjoyed the ability transform raw ingredients into something that is used and enjoyed by many in her community.

Charlie MacDonald

Red Horse Treats & Antiques

Contact: (902) 872-0220 redhorse@gmail.com

Charlie MacDonald operates a small shop in Ballantyne’s Cove selling home décor, antiques, and homemade goods. He has always had a passion for entrepreneurship and always dreamed of starting his own business. As Charlie lives in a popular tourist destination with other seasonal businesses, he felt the time was perfect to branch out and make his dream a reality.

Over the course of the summer Charlie was able to gain some additional independence by running his business and exceeded his initial expectations. Charlie notes that “Red Horse Treats and Antiques has allowed me to organize my own time and have given me the opportunity to display my creativity”. His business has also allowed him to build close connections with suppliers as well as the people who stop in to purchase his wares.

Charlie found that at times getting his operation up and running was a lengthy, and at times a complicated process. However, once he registered his business name and completed renovating his shop he was able to put his previous collecting and repairing experience to good use. Many people are surprised when they enter Red Horse Treats & Antiques and learn that it is run by a younger member of the community, but they are always impressed at Charlie’s initiative and willingness to continuously improve his set up, location, and product offering. Hopefully word of this exciting business will spread beyond Nova Scotia as many customers are from outside the region, coming as far away as Vancouver.

This young entrepreneur has also been surprised by the strong support he has received by his customers and the interest he has been getting and plans on staying open in the shoulder season. Charlie has plans to offer a Christmas themed selection in the year before taking some time off to prepare for next summer’s busy season.

Éabha Price

Coastal Crafts

Contact: (902) 870-4904 eabhakprice@gmail.com

Éabha Price operates a small crafts business from her home in Antigonish County. Currently her main items are decorative photo-on-wood souvenirs. These photos depict beautiful locations in and around the Antigonish area or can be customized with the buyers own photo. Éabha is also planning on having the option for personal engravings to be made on the wood to make the product even more unique.

Many of the prospective customers Éabha has interacted with so far have been very supportive of her work and are very interested in the product and have asked many questions about her creative process. Éabha is very pleased with her accomplishments so far and hopes to continue building her business in the future to increase the value she is able to offer her customers.

You can learn more about Éabha’s work by contacting her at the information above. She also intends to sell at the Antigonish Farmers’ Market once she builds her inventory.

Nathaniel Smith

NAS Originals

Contact: www.facebook.com/NAS-Originals-145627079327010/   NASOriginals@outlook.com

Nathaniel Smith is the proud owner of NAS Originals, a small business devoted to “finding the new in the old”. Nathaniel offers a wide variety of goods to his customers including shelving units made from repurposed barn boards and railway hooks, welded sign holders, fish flies, and survival bracelets. He also offers a wide array of custom signage options and is always seeking new products to offer his growing clientele.

While Nathaniel had completed the Junior Achievement program in his school and had a basic understanding of business essentials he had yet to put his skills into motion and on his own. One of these new skills was getting out and speaking with his prospective clients and continuously improving his sales pitch to those who would stop buy his table at the Farmers’ Market and ask him questions about his product. He was also pleased to improve his welding skills and create new products through trial and error.

Customers have been very supportive of NAS Originals and are happy to see young people out in the community doing something that they really enjoy. As well, having items of his own handiwork in the homes of his customers and knowing that his work is being enjoyed by others makes Nathaniel very proud of his accomplishments.

Anna Ross

Treasure Box

Contact: www.facebook.com/Treasure-Box-by-Anna-Ross-269137953588182/

Anna Ross has been very busy this summer making and selling doll scarfs. As the owner of Treasure Box she has learned many creative techniques for designing doll scarves that appeal to a wide audience.

Running a summer business was something very new to Anna, but she knew that she wanted to build on her previous sewing skills and promote the work that she already does as a hobby. She was happy to have the support of her parents along the way and benefited from their advice. Anna also liked being a part of the Summer Launch program as it helped to keep her motivated and on track knowing that she had regular check-ins to see how she was progressing.

Outside of her social media presence Anna hopes to find additional places to show and sell her product and get a larger customer base. Anna plans on continuing her business into the falls and hopes to put the time management skills she has learned over the summer to good use in broadening the selection of doll scarves she has to offer.