High school entrepreneurship competition returns for fifth year

TORONTO, Sept. 30, 2016 /CNW/ - Today, the Government of Ontario and Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) launched the fifth year of the Young Entrepreneurs, Make Your Pitch competition, an event which helps foster high school entrepreneurs.

Since being introduced in 2013, hundreds of Ontario high school students have pitched their business ideas to experts and the public through the competition.

Each year, the competition has been a catalyst for high school students to begin thinking  as entrepreneurs and consider a possible new career path in entrepreneurship. For example, finalist Kailyn Seo did not ever consider entrepreneurship until she entered, and ultimately won, the Young Entrepreneurs, Make Your Pitch competition as a Grade 11 student last spring.

"In just a few months, the experience has introduced me to a world I never considered," said Seo. "I never thought I'd be the CEO of my own company, yet here I am." The business Seo founded with the help of Make Your Pitch is Bookshopop, a creative and interactive alternative to greeting cards.

Young Entrepreneurs, Make Your Pitch challenges high school students to pitch their business idea in a two-minute video. The videos are evaluated by judges from the business community with the public able to vote for the best pitch online. Twenty finalists will present their ideas to a judging panel at OCE's Discovery conference in Toronto on May 15 - 16, 2017, where they will also receive coaching from a number of Ontario business leaders.

The competition is part of the Government of Ontario's $565-million Youth Jobs Strategy. "Ontario has some of the most innovative, hardworking young entrepreneurs," commented Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Growth. "The Make Your Pitch competition aims to showcase young Ontarians' world-class business acumen."

"A robust workforce and strong entrepreneurship are two pillars of a thriving Ontario economy," added OCE President and CEO Dr. Tom Corr. "At OCE, we see every day that young people have the ability to change the province and the world through their business ideas. This competition is their opportunity to shape the future."

Six winners will be selected and presented with reserved entry into Ontario's Summer Company program, an award that includes business training, mentoring, and a grant of up to $3,000 to help start and run their own summer businesses.

The video submission period ends on March 29, 2017. Finalists will be announced April 24, 2017.

About Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. (http://www.oce-ontario.org/)

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario's global competitiveness. OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario's industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, domestic and foreign investors, and government ministries. A champion of leading-edge technologies, best practices, innovation, entrepreneurship and research, OCE invests in such areas as advanced health, information and communications technology, digital media, advanced materials and manufacturing, agri-food, aerospace, transportation, energy, and the environment including water and mining. OCE is a key partner in delivering Ontario's Innovation Agenda as a member of the province's Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE), which helps Ontario-based entrepreneurs and industry rapidly grow their company and create jobs. Learn more at www.onebusiness.ca

SOURCE Ontario Centres of Excellence Inc.

For further information: Denny Allen, (416) 992-6621, denny.allen@oce-ontario.org

RELATED LINKS
http://www.oce-ontario.org/

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