Northern Ontario Secondary Students Win Big During Exclusive Business Pitch Competition

Enterprise Olympics 2017

Over 100 students from Northern Ontario’s Secondary Schools took part in a two-day initiation to entrepreneurship in North Bay at Canadore College and Nipissing University where they had the opportunity to meet local entrepreneurs, make new connections and explore the many possibilities that exist in choosing a career in entrepreneurship.

Introduced by Head Start in Business, a program funded by FedNor, The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation and the Ontario Trillium Foundation, 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 their preferred 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.

On May 17th and 18th in North Bay, not only did students get the chance to network with other like-minded individuals, they also had the opportunity to network with local entrepreneurs and enjoy an inspirational talk by Laurentian University graduate and author Connor Larocque. Students also took part in Head Start’s business-themed obstacle course ‘The Amazing Entrepreneurial Race’. The goal of the race is to introduce participants to the characteristics of an entrepreneur through experiential activity.

Students were mentored by key experts from their chosen sector to help them solidify an idea. In total, the event brought together thirteen mentors, seventeen sector judges, six coaches, three final judges and twenty-two teachers. “I know that these experiences, the practicality, being able to work with other students from other schools, gives them an opportunity to really show what they can do and I find that so exciting,” said Lucy Beaulac, a teacher from Timiskaming District Secondary School.

Ryan Fleming from Korah Collegiate and Vocational School, Cade Darrington from O’Gorman Secondary School and Moses Pitawanakwit from Wikwemikong High School were the final winners of Enterprise Olympics 2017 in the Mining, Forestry and Agriculture sector. Their innovative idea named Critical Air is a special underground air filtration system that would pump clean air into the mines in order to prevent health ailments caused by this harsh working environment. The team demonstrated a clear need in this sector and their charismatic and convincing pitch earned them the win!

This event would not have been possible without the generous event sponsors NEOnet, The City of North Bay and the sector prize sponsors The Far North East Training Board.

Head Start in Business would also like to thank the teachers who participated in Enterprise Olympics 2017. Without your time, dedication and commitment to your students this event would not be possible.

About Head Start in Business

Head Start in Business is a Pan-Northern Community Futures Development Corporation project that encourages youth to explore and expand their entrepreneurial potential while remaining in Northern Ontario. To learn more or to book a workshop in your school, visit or its Facebook or Twitter page.