News – Innovation and Enterprise Centre

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

Summer Launch Participants Attend Antigonish Farmers’ Market

Summer Launch Participants Attend Antigonish Farmers’ Market

Participants to Continue Attending Market Throughout the Summer Months

Several Summer Launch participants have expressed interested in selling their products at the Antigonish Farmers’ Market at the Summer Launch table. Three of these participants, representing Fizz Bath Products and NAS Originals, attended the market on June 24 with other vendors joining in throughout the summer until August 26.

Katie MacNeil and Brooke MacDonald are co-owners of Fizz Bath Products, specializing in homemade bath bombs and body lotions.  Visit them online at 

Nathaniel Smith, proprietor of NAS Originals, is a firm proponent of “finding the new in the old”. Nathaniel makes various handcrafts from recycled barn boards and railway hooks that would otherwise go to waste. To learn more about NAS Originals, and to get in touch, email

Be sure to stop by the Summer Launch table while visiting the Farmers’ Market and support the hard work of these budding entrepreneurs!

Katie MacNeil & Brooke MacDonald, “Fizz Bath Products” and Nathaniel Smith, “NAS Originals”

Summer Launch is delivered by the StFX Extension Innovation and Enterprise Centre, an initiative of the StFX Extension Department. For more information on Summer Launch visit

Summer Launch Hosts Successful Workshop

Summer Launch Hosts Successful Workshop

Students Thrilled to Learn More About Entrepreneurship and Exploring their Business Ideas

On May 27, 2017 participants in the Summer Launch youth entrepreneurship program gathered at the People’s Place Library in Antigonish to learn more about what it means to be an entrepreneur and explore their own business ideas.

Currently, there are eight youth participating in the program operating seven businesses throughout Antigonish County.  This group of enthusiastic young people are engaging a variety of business ventures this summer including handmade crafts and beauty products, antique sales, and lawn care services.

During the session Jordan MacDonald, Summer Launch Coordinator, outlined the program’s expectations and delivered a presentation on the Lean Canvas idea generation tool. Kathleen Melanson, recent Bachelor of Education graduate, facilitated an interactive discussion amongst the participants about what it means to be an entrepreneur, forms of business ownership, and SMART goal setting.  Kathleen easily related to the aspiring entrepreneurs as she herself is currently in the process of developing her own business, THRIVE StFX, in partnership with two other education students through the Wallace Family Internship.

Following a lunch of delicious pizza, the participants discussed various forms of business communication and marketing techniques.  They also learned of the importance of good customer service, especially when so many of the participants will be delivering services in person or selling their goods at markets.

As part of Summer Launch each business receives a $250 start up grant to begin their business operations. Throughout the summer, participants will be offered mentorship opportunities, invited to skill building and network events, and receive continuous support from StFX Extension staff.  This group of entrepreneurs will also be welcomed to the Summer Celebration for all students participating in Extension programs during the summer.

To learn more about this exciting program please visit, or visit the StFX Extension Innovation and Enterprise Centre.



Introducing Summer Launch

The StFX Extension Innovation and Enterprise Centre is pleased to announce the inaugural session of Summer Launch.  This program offers youth in Antigonish and Guysborough counties, entering into grades 8-12, the opportunity to start and operate their own business venture for the summer months.

Summer Launch will equip teens with the skills and resources needed to get their idea off the ground and manage it successfully throughout the summer break. All participants will receive training in the form of a specially created workshop, networking and mentorship opportunities, and an initial start-up grant.

This new and exciting program has been developed by staff at the StFX Extension Innovation and Enterprise Centre as a means of connecting with the youth of the region and encouraging them to explore their entrepreneurial potential.  All venture ideas are encouraged – so long as they are realistic and the participant is willing to work at making their idea a reality.

Summer Launch seeks to create activated youth that find innovative solutions to problems in their community, use entrepreneurial approaches in everyday living, and are empowered to spread this knowledge amongst their peer groups.

Act Soon: Deadline to Apply is April 30th, 2017

For more information, or to apply, visit the Summer Launch page.

Have a business idea you want to get off the ground? Visit the StFX Extension Innovation and Enterprise Centre to learn more about the services available to you!

A Successful Mashup Weekend: Antigonish

The StFX Extension Innovation and Enterprise Centre and Mashup Lab were please to host Mashup Weekend: Antigonish on March 10 and 11 at the StFX campus.

Mashup Weekend: Antigonish was the sixth Mashup Weekend organized by Andrew Button of Mashup Lab, a “for-more-than-profit company” based in Bridgewater, NS.  Andrew’s work with over 1,000 Entrepreneurs located in rural communities has convinced him that great ideas can come from anywhere. His passion and energy is focused on one thing: unleashing the entrepreneurial potential in rural communities that has yet to be inspired into action.

The concept of Mashup Weekend is simple – bring a diverse set of individuals into a room and supply them with 26 hours of hands-on experience in what it takes to bring an idea for a new business to life.  People share ideas, build small teams to support one another, and take meaningful action to bring their business idea to life!

Not all participants have to come with an idea in mind, and no field of expertise is undervalued.  “Any idea can be turned into a business if you put your mind to it,” says Carson Murray, participant and owner of Podeko A.R.S., an incubator client of the Innovation and Enterprise Centre.

Those who do not have an idea to pitch, or do not have their pitches selected by the wider group are not sidelined.  Instead they jump on a team, meet new people, stretch their creative muscles, and learn what it takes to get an idea off the group in just one weekend.  “Everyone is an expert in something,” says Sarah Allen, event facilitator.

Sue McNeil, Coordinator of Innovation and Incubation with the Extension Department was pleased with the level of participation from the Antigonish and StFX communities and the diversity of skills sets represented.  Sue recounted the weekend’s events, “there were eight great ideas pitched by the participants. Three of the ideas were selected by the group and teams were formed around each one to further develop them. It was amazing to see the progress made in less than one day.”

Several members of the business community and entrepreneurial support system were in attendance as well offering their expertise and acting as judges for the final pitch.  Brian Patton of CBDC NOBL remarked on the creativity of the ideas presented and congratulated all of those involved for their participation.

Jordan MacDonald, third year StFX business student and Event Coordinator for the Innovation and Enterprise Centre, was similarly impressed with the event, “it is amazing to see how everyone is able to come together and form such committed teams.  Whether you are a member of the community, a student at any level, a professor, or business owner you will be sure to find your place and discover what skills you bring to the table.”

Upon the conclusion of Mashup Weekend: Antigonish many expressed their hope to continue with their newfound entrepreneurial skills and continue the spirit and energy created over the course of the two days in all aspects of their lives.

To get in touch with Andrew and the Mashup Lab team find them online or on Facebook and Twitter!

Have a business idea you want to get off the ground? Visit the StFX Extension Innovation and Enterprise Centre to learn more about the services available to you!

Wallace Family Summer Interns Announced

The StFX Extension Innovation and Enterprise Centre is pleased to award four Wallace Family Summer Internships to seven innovative StFX students.

Applicants to the Wallace Family Summer Internship went through an extensive review process with the top applications being invited to participate in a student pitch competition.  This competition allowed the students to better hone their business ideas and share them in-person with the judging panel.  Following the pitch component, four groups were selected to receive Summer Internships.

Jonathan Maillet

Cape Breton Pulse Co.  – Maple Bean CocoButter

Jonathan developed Maple Bean CocoButter in preparation for the Mission: ImPULSEible food product development competition sponsored by Pulse Canada.  Maple Bean CocoButter is a chickpea-based dessert spread that offers consumers an alternate to natural peanut butter and is gluten free.

Jonathan intends to further develop the texture of this product to better meet consumer preferences. He also hopes to make connections within the broader food industry and gain valuable insights on how to develop a successful go to market strategy for his company.

Heather-Ann Burrell and Amanda Rees

Crackin’ Chickpeas Vegan Egg Alternative

Heather-Ann and Amanda developed Crackin’ Chickpeas Vegan Egg Alternative as part of the Nutrition Department’s product development class.  The pair also entered their product in the Mission: ImPULSEible competition placing second overall.  Crackin’ Chickpeas is a pulse based dry mix that, with the addition of water, creates a vegan egg alternative to be used in omelets, scrambled eggs, quiches, and frittatas.

The pair intend to improve their original product through the competition of additional studies and market research.  Heather-Ann and Amanda both hope to expand upon their previous success and explore additional product offerings.

Catherina MacIntyre, Kathleen Melanson, and Tarun Porter

So You’ve Made it to University: A Mental Health Survival Guide

Catherina, Kathleen, and Tarun are three education students making a difference.  Using research developed by the Nova Scotia government the team aims to create a collaborative board game for first year university students to help them transition from high school to post-secondary studies.  Using the concepts of Mental Health Literacy (MHL) the game hopes to help young people navigate the realities of everyday university life.

The group of three intend on making connections with members of the Residence Life staff on campus to further test their game’s design and promote its use in a variety of scenarios. Not only does the development of this game assist those who play it, the widespread play of this new game will also give greater exposure to Mental Health Literacy and promote better understanding of mental illness and self-care strategies.

Hannah Chisholm


Hannah has developed a plant based liquid egg-substitute aimed at meeting the consumer needs of those with egg allergies or who do not wish to consume products made with animal by-products.  Her product not only has superior health benefits when compared to traditional eggs, but it will also be available in easy to pour packaging.

Hannah intends on learning more about the food industry, market information, and improved nutritional science information through this internship opportunity.

About the Wallace Family Summer Internship

The Wallace Family Summer Internship provides 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-August) period, the funding provided through the Wallace Family Entrepreneurship Fund. In 2017, 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.