As they wrapped up their first Summ’er Up! Accelerator on Monday, Mary Killfoil and Ed Leach announced the program will expand next year, thanks to a $100,000 donation from the John Dobson foundation.
Kilfoil and Leach, who teach business, innovation and entrepreneurship at Dalhousie University, are best known for their Starting Lean Initiative, which entails several courses and programs teaching lean methodology to startups. They organized the eight-week Summ’er Up! program to give several teams of entrepreneurs the guidance needed to launch their companies.
On Monday, four teams presented their businesses to a packed house at Dal, displaying how they are now positioned to take their products into beta tests and (hopefully) the broader market.
“Every single one of them plan to do these things,” said a proud Kilfoil after the pitches. “They need more work. They need some help. But they’re all planning to proceed with it.”
She also outlined plans for next summer when the Starting Lean Initiative will be able to fund more teams because the Dobson Foundation, which supports entrepreneurial training at 16 Canadian universities, has offered $100,000 in support. It will likely mean 10 teams can take the program next year, and each would receive $10,000 to fund the development of tits product.
This year’s accelerator provided student entrepreneurs with working space, some funding, programming and mentoring from successful entrepreneurs and business people.
The four teams that presented on Monday are:
Bootstrap, a community-based magazine. Claire Zimmerman and Stephanie Taylor are King’s College journalism grads who wanted to produce their own magazine to celebrate the lifestyle and opportunities in Nova Scotia. It will be part of a movement to tell stories from across the province. They are experimenting with a community-based business model in which the magazine reports on small businesses and organizations that have become members of the Bootstrap community.
Peanut, a social gaming app for sports fans. Founded by Callum Mayer and Costa Zafiris, Peanut lets sports fans bet against one another during a sporting event for “peanuts”, a sort of virtual poker chip. Friends bet against one another for bragging rights, and players can buy additional peanuts for real money if they run out. Venues like sports bars can use the app for in-house promotions.
Salubrian, an e-booking system for medical clinics. Cameron Seiffert and Justin Javorek, pictured above, have devised a system that lets patients book online for doctors’ appointments. The doctors pay a monthly subscription fee, and the patient can pay $2 to get alerts if the doctor is running late. The pair will beta-test the product this autumn with a Halifax clinic.
Vantij Software Inc., a communication system for hospitals. Tyler Zemlak, a PhD who works as a porter at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Halifax, teamed up with Ashraf Abusharekh to produce Harmonized Healthcare, a software product that allows staff in emergency wards to communicate better. It will also provide valuable data to hospitals to help improve operations. The QEII is working with the team in developing the product.
“We are very pleased to see the success of this program,” said Leach in a statement. “Young people have the ideas and the enthusiasm to be great entrepreneurs. We can provide the learning tools to help them achieve their goals. We have the very good fortune to be working with the willing.”