Northern Ontario Secondary Students pitch innovative ideas

Enterprise Olympics 2016
2016 Enterprise Olympics winners in the Social Enterprise Sector. (From left to right) Jamie Snela from Timmins High and Vocational School, Caitlyn Small from Delores D. Echum, Chamonique Reinemo from E.S. Cochrane High School, Sarah Lynn-Rose Sutherland from Peetabeck Academy and Sampurna Gurung from Hornepayne High School.

Over 150 students from Northern Ontario’s secondary schools, including 12 students from Korah Collegiate, took part in a two-day initiation to entrepreneurship in Timmins at Université de Hearst, College Boréal and Northern College where they had the opportunity to meet local entrepreneurs, make new friends and explore the many possibilities that exist in choosing a career in entrepreneurship.

Enterprise Olympics 2016
Enterprise Olympics Final Judges in deliberation. (From left to right) Maggie Matear, Jonathan Bonney, Marc Rodrigue, Stéphane Gallant and Jane Karhi.

Introduced by Head Start in Business (a program funded by FedNor, The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, the Ontario Trillium Fund and the Ministry of Economic Development Employment and Infrastructure), Enterprise Olympics not only brings students and community organizations together but creates an avenue for students to explore the world of business. At the event, teams are created based on a desired business sector such as Arts and Culture, Health and Wellness, Retail, Mining, Forestry and Agriculture, Technology and Innovation and lastly, Social Enterprise. Within their chosen sector, students are challenged to come up with a business idea. They then pitch their idea to a panel of sector judges for a chance to win $500. The winning sectors compete in the finals for a chance to win a $1000 scholarship to a participating post-secondary University or College in Northern Ontario.

Enterprise Olympics 2016
Students get to know their teammates during sector networking games with MC Jason Ormandy.

On May 4th and 5th in Timmins, not only did students get the chance to network with other like-minded individuals, they also had the opportunity to network with local entrepreneurs, enjoy guided tours of Université de Hearst, Collège Boréal and Northern College, play games and enjoy a performance by local Comedian Rick Lemieux. Keynote speaker Johnathan Bonney, co-owner of the Timmins Wake park also spoke about his journey as an entrepreneur and offered students practical advice on how to turn your passion into a viable career.

Students were mentored by key experts from their chosen sector to help them solidify an idea. In total, the event brought together eighteen mentors, eighteen sector judges, six coaches and five final judges all of which were local entrepreneurs and community organization representatives. Ana Blouin, PIC Coordinator who participated as a sector judge in the Health and Wellness sector says, “It was a great experience and quite fascinating, as well as energizing to support such innovative young entrepreneurs!”

Enterprise Olympics 2016
MC Jason Ormandy with Constable and Comedian Rick Lemieux.

Creators of the Buddy Bracelet Caitlyn Small from Delores D. Echum Secondary School, Sarah Lynn-Rose Sutherland from Peetabeck Academy, Sampurna Gurung from Hornepayne High School, Chamonique Reinemo from E.S. Cochrane High School and Jamie Snela from Timmins High and Vocational School were the final winners of Enterprise Olympics 2016 in the Social Enterprise sector. Their innovative idea, a slimly designed bracelet which can alert authorities if you are in danger, made for a useful product and one that can be worn by many. Not only was their idea unique but their charismatic presentation and professionalism earned them the win!

This event would not have been possible without our program supporters and our sector prize sponsors NEOnet, the Productivity and Innovation Centre, the Timmins Economic Development Corporation, the Venture Centre, Far North East Training Board and the City of Timmins.

Enterprise Olympics 2016
Students awaiting the final presentations and final dinner.

Head Start in Business would also like to thank the teachers who have participated in Enterprise Olympics 2016. Without your time, dedication and commitment to your students this event would not be possible.

For more information on Head Start in Business programs, please visit their website at