News – Innovation and Enterprise Centre

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

Gaga’s Goodies Galore

Gaga’s Goodies Galore is a bakery business created by Summer Launch participant Jake Breen, to provide customers the opportunity to avoid having to make their own baked goods for events, gatherings, or even just for home. Jake decided to start this business because he has always had a passion for baking. Since a very young age, he has loved to try baking and tasting new recipes. He thought about starting a baking business for a few years, but last year he finally started up so he could share his love for baking with others.

When asked how he came up with the unique business name, Jake told us that it comes from his childhood. His passion for baking really began when he used to visit his grandmother, who they called Gaga, and would help her out in her kitchen. Jake explained that she didn’t bake as often as some, but her entire family would agree with him that she made the most delicious biscuits, Skor bar squares, and cherry cheesecake. Just one year before Jake started his business, his grandmother passed away from cancer. When it came time for him to register a name for his business, he knew it had to incorporate a memory of her somehow. With some help from his sister, they came up with the perfectly fitting name of ‘Gaga’s Goodies Galore’.

Jake can be found at the Antigonish Farmers’ Markets throughout the summer months and he occasionally attends the Mabou Farmers’ Markets as well. Sometimes throughout the fall and winter months he attends holiday markets. He also offers delivery service, but requires a couple days of notice in order to have time to prepare the order. Ordering options can be found on his Facebook page. If you do not have social media, Jake can be contacted via phone call or text at (902) 870-6485 for more information or to place an order. He also accepts orders via email ( but prefers Facebook if at all possible! Gaga’s Goodies Galore is also in the process of becoming an Instagram page (@gagasgoodiesgalore). Jake loves completing orders, so he encourages everyone to send him a message if you are interested!

Gaga’s Goodies Galore offers products from baked breads to sweets and squares. He can often be found with different types of the following in his freezer or at his bake table: muffins, cookies, fudge, bread loaves, sweet loaves, squares, dinner rolls, and buns. He says he always features a product made using oatmeal and another with lemon flavor at his table. He is currently working on offering diabetic friendly as well as gluten free options which he is hoping to have available near the end of this Farmers’ Market season.

Jake’s top selling product has always been his homemade dinner rolls. He typically sells out of them an hour before the market is over, depending on the size of the crowd. Jake also takes great pride in his fudge sales. He always produces a large quantity and is almost always sold out by the end of the market. He says that many people appreciate the low price given the amount of fudge they receive in each package. His breads are also in high demand, often selling out!

Jake plans on continuing his business throughout the year when he has the opportunity to make sales. He is planning on being at the markets around Thanksgiving where he will have lots of dinner rolls and sweets for sale, as well as the markets during the Christmas season in which he will have lots of squares for sale. He has not yet decided if he will be participating in the Antigonish Winter Markets this year or not but he will definitely be back the following May. He always takes orders anytime throughout the year for those interested!

Jake would like to thank the Summer Launch program for helping his business get more exposure!

El Gordo Tacos

El Gordo Tacos is a taco food trailer started by Elin Cunningham, a 2018 Summer Launch participant. Elin recently visited Mexico and fell in love with the Mexican cuisine. She thought it would be great to bring this type of food into Antigonish, as the majority of options currently consist of pizza and burgers. When deciding on a name for her business, Elin knew that she needed it to be short and memorable, with a connection to Mexico. El Gordo roughly translates to fat in Spanish, so she thought it would be a unique name for a food truck, along with a personal connection: Elin’s father’s name is Gord.

El Gordo is located on a grass lot on Braemore Avenue in front of the Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional high school in Antigonish. Their hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 11:30AM to 7PM and Sunday, 1:30 to 6PM. Elin’s plan is to be open during the summer months for now, with the potential to open up during weekends throughout the fall if the demand is present.

The menu consists of three types of tacos (chicken, pork, and refried beans) as well as Mexican rice, Mexican brownies, ice cream, and freezies. For drinks, they offer water, pop, and Gatorade. El Gordo also offers a platter called the ‘El Gordo Plate’ which consists of two tacos of your choice and a scoop of Mexican rice.

Check out their Facebook page for up to date hours, changes in menu, and more!


Canvas Clothing Company

Canvas Clothing Company is a local business started by two grade twelve students, Michael Putnam and Sam Silver. Michael and Sam began their partnership through Summer Launch, a program developed and led by the StFX Extension Innovation and Enterprise Centre. Canvas Clothing is a company working with local artists and organizations to create unique pieces of clothing. The pair started this business to bring exposure to local art and to learn how to run a business, all while having some fun!

When asked how they came up with their idea, the boys said that they have both thought about creating and designing clothes in the past and that it is something that they are both passionate about.  They pointed out the fact that a lot of clothing brands collaborate with other brands so they thought that it would be great if their brand collaborated with local artists and organizations. Michael and Sam say that this will be a great way to support local and bring exposure to this area.

This is what led them to collaborate with the art department within the L’Arche community, Hearts and Hands. 20 percent of their profits made from the shirt sales will go back to Hearts and Hands. They currently have three designs (see picture below); one heather navy featuring Anthony Burns’ art, a gold design with Tommy Landry’s flower art, and last but not least, Kelly Farrell’s harbour piece on a white shirt. The shirts come in sizes extra small to triple extra-large. They will be available for sale at the Antigonish Farmers’ Market on Wednesday, August 1st from 4:00-7:00 PM, located at 30 James Street.

The Summer Launch program finishes up at the end of August but Michael and Sam will continue working on their business throughout the year. They hope to release more collections in the future. For more information and to stay up to date on where they will be selling their product, follow them on Instagram (@canvas.clothingco) or email them at Michael and Sam are very excited to be supporting the L’Arche community during the Special Olympics and are wishing the best of luck to all of the athletes!

Summer Launch Celebration 2018

On Wednesday, July 25th another workshop was held for the Summer Launch participants at the StFX Extension Innovation and Enterprise Centre. Facilitated by Summer Launch coordinator, Kelsey Bowman, the workshop was centered upon delivering an effective pitch for your business, idea, or project. This included step by step instructions on how to develop a pitch, tips for non-verbal communication, and how to effectively express your pitch in a clear and concise manner. After learning about pitches, everyone took time to create their own pitch for their business venture. They each presented their pitch to the group with a two minute time maximum and received feedback from the group.


Summer Launch participants Jake Breen (left) and Hilus Keay (right).


A roundtable discussion took place next. Each participant presented an issue or struggle that they are currently facing within their business. This was an opportunity to bounce their ideas off of the other Summer Launch students. Possible solutions to each problem were also suggested at this time. Throughout the workshop, potential collaboration points and ways that they may be able to help each other with their ventures were established. This included sharing contacts and discussing ways to promote each other’s products such as setting up in the same area and collaborating with a promotional strategy.

A final check out was held to receive feedback on how students are enjoying the program so far. Questions were asked such as “what have you learned and how has the Summer Launch program helped you this far”. This information will be used to shape the program in the following years. Some of the highlights from the feedback were that they found the bi-weekly logs to be extremely helpful when it comes to staying on track. The logs also resulted in a reflection of the previous two weeks as it requires them to answer questions that they may not have asked if they did not have to take the time to write these bi-weekly pieces. Another highlight noted was that the business model activity at the introductory workshop really allowed them to break down their business ideas and solidify a plan for the future as they move forward with their ventures. Participants said they have been learning lots throughout the program, but two main points included better time management skills and becoming more open to criticism and feedback.

The Summer Launch program will continue throughout the month of August, with their final reflection paper deadline set at August 20th.

G.I.V.E. 2018

Back (Left to Right): Kelsey Bowman, Ellen Brophy, Flora Murphy, Krista Beaton, Emma Logan

Front: Hayley Fougere, Ruby Brophy, Myree Landry

On July 3rd, the StFX Extension Innovation and Enterprise Centre’s first GIVE Camp began. GIVE stands for Girls in Venture and Entrepreneurship and is a two-day camp focusing on teaching young girls about entrepreneurship and giving them the opportunity to receive hands on experience as entrepreneurs themselves. The first day of the camp involved learning about entrepreneurs, including a trip to the local Peace by Chocolate store. Everyone was welcomed into the store to taste some samples, hear their incredible story, and take some pictures.

Back (Left to Right): Alaa Hadhad, Ellen Brophy, Myree Landry, Krista Beaton, Kelsey Bowman

Front: Ruby Brophy, Hayley Fougere, Flora Murphy

The remainder of the first day was spent assembling and packaging products including candy kabobs, s’more kits, and surprise bags. The girls learned that not all money made in sales, is money you get to keep – costs must be covered, a float must be removed, etc. This was an eye opener for many of them!

The second day of the camp consisted of the girls setting up as vendors at Stroll the Main, Antigonish’s annual street fair. They displayed the products that they prepared and packaged the previous day and customers were very pleased! Within the first few hours, they sold out of candy kabobs and surprise bags, which was very exciting for them as it was evident that their hard work was paying off! The talented Marie and Meaghan Wright from Mirror Image Media stopped by the table to take some footage of the girls selling their products and talking about entrepreneurship. This footage will be used for a short promotional video for GIVE. Wallace Family Intern, Emma Logan, assisted the girls throughout the day as they waited on customers, handled money, and ensured that everyone had a fun and safe experience at the Street Fair!

At the end of the day, the girls counted the money with help from coordinator Kelsey Bowman, and determined their profit which will be donated to a local cause. GIVE is currently a pilot project, but we are hopeful that based on this year’s success, we will be able to offer the program again to more girls.


Click here for more information on the GIVE Camp.