About the Program

DiscoverBox Start-Up Labs is designed to provide youth entrepreneurs with an opportunity to discover more about their own ability for creating unique and impactful responses to real-world challenges. The program allows students to develop skills in problem-solving, ideation, and entrepreneurship in order to develop their own community-focused business solutions. Start-Up Labs will allow youth entrepreneurs to work through their idea and create a solid foundation for moving forward. At the end of the program, participants will present their business pitch at our Pitch Competition… with $10,000 in cash prizes to be won!

This program, consisting of 5 hands-on workshops and the final Pitch Competition, will be a hybrid of online and in-person sessions.

Thank you to our event sponsor, Nova Scotia Department of Advanced Education, for your support. This program is presented in partnership by StFX DiscoverBox, Enactus StFX, NSCC, and Ignite Labs.


  • Learn By Doing: Being an entrepreneur is about being able to “roll up your sleeves” get your hands dirty. It’s about being able to come up with the vision for their business and also execute those ideas, thus we will encourage and provide actionable steps to help the students gain more confidence by building this “muscle” that is integral to being an entrepreneur. 
  • Collaboration & Feedback: In order to enable the best experience and help participants develop future skills, we will strive to create environments where students have the ability to bounce ideas off each other and with mentors. This helps to ensure all participants are consistently receiving feedback to help them become adaptable and build from their existing ideas and experiences. 
  • Lean Startup & Design Thinking: These methodologies are core to what it takes to build a business, over the period of the program workshops and/or 1:1 (Dependent on the size of the group) mentoring sessions will be provided to help participants become more comfortable with these concepts and practices. 
  • Coaching & Mentoring:  Regular mentorship huddles and office hours allow for multiple opportunities for the entrepreneurs to receive back and be held accountable for their business idea.


Funding: Start-up grants of $250 per participant will be provided.

Where: A mix of online and in-person sessions at StFX University campus.

Key Dates:

Nov 24, 2021 | 4:30PM – 8PM → Workshop #1: Problem Identification & Ideation
Nov 26, 2021 | 4:30PM – 8PM → Workshop #2: Customer Validation & Team Formation/Development
Jan 14, 2022 | 4:30PM – 8PM → Workshop #3 Rapid Prototyping
Jan 15, 2022 | 10:30AM – 2:00PM → Workshop #4: Rapid Prototyping
Mar 9, 2022 | 4:30PM – 8PM → Workshop #5: Pitching Best Practices
Mar 25, 2022 | 3:30PM – 5:45PM → Pitch Competition with $10,000 in Cash Prizes

Attendance is mandatory for all of the below sessions.

(See below for full workshop details)

Participant Requirements:

  • Current students of St. Francis Xavier University (StFX) and Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC)
  • Participants may register as a group or individual.
  • Individual participants or groups will need a business idea, a pre-existing business, or an idea for a community-focused initiative to work through during the program.
  • Full attendance is mandatory.
  • All academic disciplines are welcome.

Application deadline: Friday, November 19th, 2021

To register: https://bit.ly/StfxSandbox 

Limited spots available. Apply today!

Need more information?  Please email Paula Brophy at pbrophy@stfx.ca.

Workshop Details:

[Virtual] Workshop #1: 

Problem Identification & Ideation

  • Have a business idea but not sure what do to next? 
  • What are all the possibilities of where you could go with it? 
  • Is this business idea really worth solving? 

These are the questions that we’ll address to help students map out where to begin to take their idea to the next level. This is 1 or 5 workshops that will be provided to help you build your dream business. Join us for this interactive session. 

Wed, Nov 24

4:30PM – 8PM 

[Virtual] Workshop #2: 

Customer Validation & Team Formation/Development

  • Now that you have that initial business idea, how do you ensure you are building a business that customers/clients really want? 
  • How do you gain insights and learnings from customers and partners that can help propel your business idea? 
  • What skills and/or team members do you need to make this all a reality?

We’ll put into action methodologies and processes to help you gain the learnings you need to build a business that is solving a need for customers. We’ll also have an environment where potential students may merge teams or find others to join them. 

Fri, Nov 26

4:30PM – 8PM 

[In-Person] Workshop #3:

Rapid Prototyping (A)

[Part 1/2] Learn how to prototype, experiment, and iterate in order to move your ideas forward. This will be a hands-on workshop where we put ideas into action in order to build the best product or service. 

Get ready to put on your design and creativity hat. 

Fri, Jan 14

4:30PM – 8PM

[In-Person] Workshop #4: 

Rapid Prototyping (B)

[Part 2/2] Learn how to prototype, experiment, and iterate in order to move your ideas forward. This will be a hands-on workshop where we put ideas into action in order to build the best product or service. 

Get ready to put on your design and creativity hat. 

Sat, Jan 15

10:30AM – 2:00PM 

[In-Person] Workshop #5:

Basic Business Modelling & Pitch Presentation

After the last few workshops, this is when we begin to pull it all together. Let’s get all the entrepreneurs ready for the pitch competition. 

Wed, Mar 9

4:30PM – 8PM

Final Pitch Competition – $10,000 in Cash Prizes to be Won!

We close out the program with participants sharing their business pitch.

Fri, Mar 25

3:30PM – 5:45PM