Daniel Read (Niagara College grad) and Robert Babiak (Brock University student), founders of Niagara Sports Network
From Friday November 4 to Sunday November 6, ncTakeOff (Niagara College's entrepreneurship hub) and BioLinc (Brock University’s business incubator) collaborated, once again, to host their annual Young Entrepreneur Kick-Off Weekend. This event was geared towards youth in Niagara, aged 18-29, looking to gain skills and knowledge in entrepreneurship. Following the famous Startup Weekend model, this event connected entrepreneurial individuals and inspired them to develop an idea into a business model in just two and a half days.
The fun and educational weekend started off with a keynote presentation Friday night from Brock Graduate, and creator of Stathletes, Meghan Chayka. Meghan presented her experience as a young entrepreneur and the challenges she overcame to become the successful individual she is today. Following the keynote teams were formed based on the skills and ideas they brought to the table. On Saturday, teams developed their business ideas, recieved support of local entrepreneurs and mentors, and attended workshops on the 'Business Model Canvas' and 'Pitching to Investors'. Teams worked late into Saturday night, preparing the pitches that were presented the following morning.
Sunday came quickly for the hard working participants. The energy at the pitch presentation was electric as teams waited their turn to impress the judges in hopes to secure first place and the prize package worth $5,500 (cash and in-kind business development services). After the panel of expert judges witnessed pitches by eight diverse teams, it was Robert Babiak and Daniel Read, founders of Niagara Sports Network that won first place. This dynamic duo's pitch and scalable idea to promote local sports through web broadcasting and journalism impressed the judges. Daniel, a recent graduate from the Broadcast, Radio, Television and Film program at Niagara College, demonstrated their competitive advantage by live streaming the presentation and proving their ability to display graphics and updates in real time. Robert, a current Sport Management student at Brock University, has great connections to the industry through his role as VP of the Lincoln Mavericks Jr. A hockey club and also holds the record for being the youngest general manager in North American professional sports.
BioLinc and ncTakeOff are happy with the success of the weekend and hope that it continues to grow with more teams participating year after year.
To see highlights of the event visit the Flickr page. #NiagaraKickOff