Thunder Bay – September, 2021 – With the support of RBC’s Future Launch program, The Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre and Confederation College are excited to celebrate the launch of seven new businesses!
Over the past two years, the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre and Confederation College delivered entrepreneurial programming to students and recent graduates with the support of RBC Future Launch. The programming consisted of an entrepreneurship elective that gave students the tools and know-how to start their own business and was complemented with the addition of a student accelerator program (Campus Costarter).
‘We were excited to deliver this program in partnership with Confederation College and be able to work first-hand with students. It’s inspiring to see these students create their own opportunities after graduation by taking the risk to start their own businesses. As a community, it’s important to support youth wanting to pursue the path of entrepreneurship. One of the best ways for them to learn about starting a business is to try, and RBC Future Launch provided the resources and support to do so.’ said Kendall Williams, Executive Director of the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre.
Eight students took part in the Campus Costarter Accelerator program where they received start-up investment, one-on-one mentorship support, educational workshops on various business topics such as business banking presented by RBC, and network with other entrepreneurs in our community. The students and recent graduates worked very hard over the course of 12 weeks to launch their business and gain new customers. One of the graduating companies, Alessandra Pasqualino of MRT Markers said ‘"The Costarter program was the missing piece to success for my business. I was able to surpass my market competitors because of the knowledge I gained from this program."
Richard Gemmill, VP of Academics at Confederation College sees this as an invaluable experience for the students and their future. ‘Despite significant challenges with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic and the many challenges our students and community members faced, the students taking part in our RBC Future Launch funded Entrepreneurship programming have taken tremendous steps forward.? Through our partnership with the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre to deliver a complete educational experience, from course delivery right through to pitching their business ideas to local industry and business players, students have gained invaluable experiences that will serve them and our community well into the future.’
"The entrepreneurial spirit is stronger than ever and business ownership is more and more being seen as a viable career path for many Canadians,” shared Matt Simeoni, Vice President Commercial Markets, RBC. “RBC Future Launch is about empowering our youth to thrive in the disrupted world of work, and Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre and Confederation College are strong partners in helping to equip our next generation of entrepreneurs to launch and establish businesses which contribute to job creation and to our economy. Wishing much success to all Campus Costarter graduating companies.”
This program has built a great foundation for the Confederation College community throughout the region, and the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre and Confederation College will continue to deliver entrepreneurial programming and supports to students that want to pursue their own entrepreneurial endeavors in the future.
The seven companies that graduated from the Campus Costarter accelerator program this past year are:
Konnect is a social media management company that will focus on giving small to medium-sized business owners back the time they've spent frustrated with social media. Their clients will gain effective marketing strategies which will, in turn, increase brand awareness, sales, and a trusted reputation.
James Cuglietta and Thomas Longworth
Cedar Jet Branding
CedarJet Branding is a multi-media marketing agency that offers its clients a boutique studio experience. They work closely with their clients to provide them with unique videos, websites, and other branding solutions that support the client's business identity.
Greenstone-Superior Landscaping Greenstone Property Services Ltd.
Started by Greg Rondeau, Greenstone Superior is a year-round property maintenance business focused on areas such as landscaping and snow removal. They also offer services that include fence/post-hole installation services, painting, hardscape (walkways, patios), tree removal and refuse collection
Alessandra combined her new career with her creative flair and MRT Markers was born. Her business manufactures x-ray markers and accessories for imaging professionals all over the world.
Jhon is applying his newly acquired accounting knowledge to his newly established business, EVA Bookkeeping. His company will be providing a variety of bookkeeping services to his clients online, in a manner that is convenient to them.
Brayden's Lawn Care
Brayden is taking his passion for working outdoors and combining it with the knowledge he gained from the college’s business program. Through his company Brayden’s Yard Care, he offers grass cutting, grass trimming, and waste removal services in the summer months. In the winter, he will expand his business into other seasonal services.
Rhiannon's company manufactures all-natural soaps and bath and body products that are gentler on your skin.