At the first-ever 100 Entrepreneurs PLANTING SEED$ competition, 100 hopefuls between the ages of 17 and 24 pitched their business plans for a chance at $10,000 in ‘seed’ money. The prize was funded by the 100 generous business people who participated in the event. On June 4, 2015, in front of a large audience at the Lord Nelson Hotel, three finalists presented their strategies. A panel of judges selected one winner—Canadian Cold Press Juices—to receive $10,000. This start-up company produces juice mainly from locally-sourced fruits and vegetables. Putting young entrepreneurs on the path to success started with four original thinkers.
Jacqui Rostek, a REALTOR® with Sutton Group – Professional Realty, Amy Richard, a REALTOR® with Keller Williams Select Realty, Stefanie MacDonald, and Allyson England brainstormed on ways to inspire Halifax-area youth. They came up with the concept for 100 Entrepreneurs PLANTING SEED$ and within just five weeks they had invited applicants to apply with the help of Yes NS, gathered a diverse panel of judges, arranged a venue for the competition finale and secured 100 seed money donors plus additional event sponsors.
“We couldn’t have pulled this together so quickly without the overwhelming community support,” says Jacqui. “It was encouraging to see that local business people wanted to contribute. The Lord Nelson hotel also kindly donated the venue. Several sponsors covered the costs of audio visual equipment, appetizers and refreshments. Even the Premier of Nova Scotia sent his best wishes and a representative on his behalf.”
A great surprise for Jacqui and other event founders was seeing that in the end, all of the 100 young entrepreneurs were winners. “Thanks to a youth organization, each applicant is now paired with a mentor in a similar line of work. That is really cool because whether or not they received funding, now they have that business connection, which can be invaluable.”
The top three finalists also got more than they bargained for! The top winner received extra funding from Scotiabank. The second and third place winners received offers of support from a business and a bank pending due diligence.
This story was adapted – with permission – from one originally featured on the Sutton Spirit website. The Sutton Spirit program recognizes Sutton associates across Canada that improve and enhance the lives of the people around them.