Humber’s Centre for Entrepreneurship awarded five Humber students and aspiring entrepreneurs with seed funding for their businesses as part of the 2019 Launch Me competition. Eight finalists in the competition pitched a panel of judges their startup idea, for the opportunity to receive a portion of up to $20,000.
The competition required a completed application and business plan submission, and attendance either online or in-person at the Launch Me workshops. Hosted by the Centre for Entrepreneurship and led by Kevin Smith, an entrepreneur and expert in startups, workshop topics included lean canvas (a startup template for developing business ideas), business plan development, and effective pitch training.
The 2018-19 competition winners are:
First place: Bryan Gomez ($5,000 for TackFeler)
Second: Christopher Rahim ($5,000 for BOOTH)
Third: Michail Lefkopoulos ($5,000 for Nadia Lef Dressmaking and Alteration Shop)
Fourth: Ghazaros Mkrtchyan ($2,500 for Armenix)
Fifth: Sarah De Donato ($2,500 for Give A Shit)
Bryan Gomez, a Business Management student at Humber, took home $5,000 in funding for his startup, an app called TackFeler that is designed to help travelers connect with local businesses. An avid traveler himself, Gomez found himself relying on familiar franchises when abroad, instead of experiencing local culture. He was motivated to create something that would help people just like him navigate in new situations.
Gomez says he is grateful to the Launch Me workshops. “Learning from Kevin was really inspiring. They also really helped me to connect with other people doing the same thing—and they helped to enrich my idea,” he says. “I would love for more people to apply and attend the workshops.” He has many plans for developing TackFeler in the future, but plans to use his first-place prize funds to develop a prototype.
Sarah De Donato, a third-year International Business student at the University of Guelph-Humber, received $2,500 toward her project, Give A Shit. The project aims to connect people to the organizations and charities in their own backyard, in order to facilitate change.
De Donato says the idea for her project was close to her heart: years ago, she worked with a nonprofit organization that closed its doors. “It was a great nonprofit that made a real difference in the lives of young girls across Ontario. Due to lack of funding and visibility, it was shut down and lost the potential to help thousands. I never want that to happen again, and hopefully with this initiative and the awareness it will bring to organizations across the country, it won’t.”
She attended the online sessions led by Smith, and says they were really helpful when it came time to write her pitch for the competition. De Donato says she plans to use the funding she received to start building a website. “I feel very accomplished and excited,” she says. “This is the start of a new chapter.”
Register here for the upcoming Launch Me Workshops and Competition in Fall 2019.