Saint Mary’s students Jake Chambers and partner Zack McKibbon were one of three finalist teams vying for seed money at a pitch competition held on campus on June 5.
100 Seed$ Atlantic is a non-profit organization that was created in response to Ray Ivany’s Now or Never report to foster youth entrepreneurship in Atlantic Canada. Their showcase event, 100 Entrepreneurs Planting Seed$ - held June 5 at Saint Mary’s - has contributed over $50,000 to youth-led ventures since 2015.
A crowd of 100 seed investors heard Jake and Zacks’ pitch about NovaCare, an app that allows users to book appointments, follow up with healthcare providers, and monitor hospital wait times and ultimately improve patient experience with the Nova Scotia health care system. The app would collect revenue from aggregated data and from government investment.
Fellow competitors were Thian Carman, the youngest registered farmer in Canada, who pitched a 'haylage' bundler for his farm, and Warren Dietrich, Jack MacDonald and David Giffin who presented VIS foods, a hemp-based protein powder aimed at the health market and based on Dietrich's personal experience fighting cancer.
Jake and Zack are both former Acadia students who have come to Saint Mary's to take courses with Dr. Ellen Farrell.
Jake had pitched to Venture Grade, Saint Mary's student-led venture capital fund. "I remember looking across the table at these investors who were students, like me," says Jake. "I thought, okay. I want to learn more about this."
Zack is aiming to take the MTEI program, and meanwhile is enrolling in the Venture Grade course as well.
As a BSc Computing Science and Business Administration major, Jake is truly a Saint Mary's hybrid. Most of his courses are in the school of business. His computing science background is demonstrated in the technological bent of his proposed solution to the healthcare challenges he has personally experienced in this province.
In the room for the pitches at the 100 Seed$ event are finance, credit union, construction industry, real estate and other professionals. Part of the prize package for the winning team is in-kind support in the form of meetings, coaching and more.
The evening opened with remarks from Halifax Mayor Mike Savage and Saint Mary's president Robert Summerby-Murray. 100 Seed$ is run by entrepreneurs and volunteers from supporting organizations like Common Ground Solutions.
After the presentations, voting takes place while people mingle at the reception, thronging the entrepreneurs for more information on their projects, and congratulating them. Finally, the winning startup is announced: Carman, the young farmer from Barton, will take home the $20,000 prize in cash and in-kind services.
Chambers and McKibbon are disappointed but not daunted, and join others in congratulating Thian Carman. Saint Mary's looks forward to what these two will accomplish in the future!
— Submitted by Charlene Boyce, Sobey School of Business