Minister Chagger encourages young entrepreneurs to pursue their innovative business ideas
Conference helps GTA teens develop and pitch solutions in such areas as financial literacy, youth mental health and more
March 6, 2017 – Toronto, Ontario – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Access to meaningful learning experiences helps young entrepreneurs explore their passions and sets them on a course for success. This is the message that the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism, delivered to an audience of young entrepreneurs at the Y2 Entrepreneur Conference for Teens at Seneca College. Minister Chagger also encouraged teens to keep bringing their ideas forward to drive Canada’s entrepreneurial culture and create new jobs for the future.
Founded in 2015, the Y2 Entrepreneur Conference allows high school students between the ages of 12 and 18 to learn how to bring an innovative idea from concept to customer validation to pitch presentation. Throughout the conference, students participate in workshops led by business leaders and benefit from access to mentors. The top two teams are awarded dinners with experienced entrepreneurs who will support them on their entrepreneurial journey.
The Government of Canada is promoting an entrepreneurial and creative society and supports young Canadians in getting the education and training they need to prepare for the jobs of today and tomorrow. As part of its commitment to supporting youth, the Government created the Prime Minister’s Youth Council in 2016. The Council—consisting of members aged 16 to 24—meets multiple times a year and advises the Prime Minister on national issues such as employment, access to education, building stronger communities, climate change and clean growth.
“Young entrepreneurs bring new energy and ideas that inspire Canadians from coast to coast to coast. The Y2 Entrepreneur Conference is an incredible example of how, with the right resources and opportunities, our bright young entrepreneurs can succeed. Our government supports entrepreneurs as they launch and grow their businesses, helping to build a more prosperous and innovative Canada for today and future generations.”
– The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism
“Y2 Entrepreneurship Labs and Seneca College’s start-up incubator HELIX are pleased and excited to welcome Minister Chagger to the Y2 Entrepreneur Conference for high school students. Minister Chagger joins others in the entrepreneurial community to inspire and be inspired by the Y2 participants, who come from York Region, the GTA, Mississauga, Brampton, Oakville and beyond, as they present their solutions for improving financial literacy, youth mental health and our planet’s sustainability.”
– Lucas Chang, Y2 Entrepreneur Conference Organizer
The first two conferences, held in October 2015 and April 2016, were attended by more than 100 participants from 15 different high schools, including in Oakville, Guelph and London.
During the conference, students present business ideas addressing issues related to environmental sustainability, youth mental health and financial literacy.
To date, two teams have been successful in securing funding, and they continue to build their businesses today:
Proxi-Meet (October 2015 conference) won the Ontario Centres of Excellence’s Make Your Pitch competition, which earned the team a $3,000 grant and a place in the Summer Company program.
Candy Cutlery (April 2016 conference) won Ideal Incubator’s Ideator Business Plan Competition, which earned the team $2,500 in seed money.
Office of the Minister of Small Business and Tourism
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
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