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Global Victory for HelpWear

HelpWear_SAGE CanadaTORONTO, August 23, 2016 — SAGE Canada announced today that Toronto-based startup, HelpWear has won first place in the Social Enterprise Business category at the SAGE World Cup 2016. Youth entrepreneurs Andre Bertram and Frank Nguyen developed the HeartWatch—an around-the-clock heart monitoring and alerting device that aims to aid both the diagnoses and treatment of heart related illness, as well as functioning as an emergency response device.

On August 13th, 2016, HelpWear competed amongst 21 participating countries and over 70 youth entrepreneurs at the SAGE World Cup which took place in Manila, Philippines. HelpWear advanced to the final round of the SEB category, taking on Ireland, China and the Philippines. HelpWear came out as the 2016 SAGE World Cup SEB champions, marking the first major victory for Canada.

“As a youth entrepreneur, I am grateful for SAGE’s support in providing a global platform to showcase our life saving technology,” said André Bertram, CEO of HelpWear. “Organizations like SAGE understand the power of youth entrepreneurs to create real businesses that drive real change.”

HelpWear first joined the SAGE Canada program in September 2015, while continuing to develop their prototype with funding from the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship and with the support of the Biomedical Zone–a healthcare incubator formed by a partnership between Ryerson University and St. Michael’s Hospital. In April of 2016, SAGE Canada hosted a video pitch competition open to all high schools students, qualifying the top 12 socially innovative ventures across Canada to compete in TheSTAGE: National Competition held in May. HelpWear became the national Social Enterprise Business champions along with the Socially Responsible Business champions, Sitto, an online babysitting platform, representing Canada at the global competition.

SAGE (Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship) was founded by Dr. Curt DeBerg in 2002 as a platform to develop youth entrepreneurs around the world as agents of social innovation. SAGE Canada was officially created by Wendy Cukier, former VP Research and Innovation at Ryerson University, and Andrea Belvedere, Manager of Customer Consulting at PwC, in 2009 as the Canadian chapter of this global organization. SAGE Canada gives an opportunity to youth between 13-18 years old to become change makers through their socially innovative business ventures.

SAGE continues to empower the youth through educational assistance, resources and one-on-one mentorship, striving to build the next generation of leaders.  Since its inaugural year, SAGE Canada has assisted with launching 40 youth ventures, helped businesses generate over $50,000 in revenue, and united over 300 students to become social change makers. The SAGE Canada program is greatly supported by Ryerson University, as an extension of their commitment to supporting the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country.

David Kwok, Strategic Advisor for SAGE Canada, said: “We always create excuses as to why high school entrepreneurs shouldn’t be taken seriously, but HelpWear has helped change that mindset. We are hoping to leverage the success of this competition to ignite some conversations and start getting government, corporations, and academia to acknowledge youth entrepreneurship and provide the necessary support systems for them to succeed.”

 

“TheSTAGE”: National Competition a Huge Success for Young Entrepreneurs

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The SAGE Canada national competition, known as the “TheSTAGE”, signalled a tremendous end to a memorable school year for the brightest young entrepreneurs the country has to offer.

A group of talented high school students presented their start-up businesses in front of a panel of judges to qualify for a chance to represent Canada globally as youth entrepreneurs. The competition, which took place on Friday, May 13th at St. James Cathedral’s Snell Hall, was in search of the top 12 socially innovative youth ventures nationwide, to compete at our national stage for a chance to represent Canada globally as youth entrepreneurs. This year’s winners will have the chance to compete at the SAGE World Cup against 31 participating countries in Manila, Philippines. Before the presentations, both Christine Rettie, National Bank branch manager and president of MAKO Invent, Kevin Mako spoke to the students about the importance of entrepreneurs and empowered youth. The presentations were diverse and groundbreaking and showed just how talented each team was.

The winners were announced at a gala at St. Andrew’s Club & Conference Centre that featured networking, delicious food and an awesome view of Toronto’s skyline.

The host of Family Channel, Deepa Prashad was the emcee for the night and gave the students some tips on the transition from high school to university from her own experience attending Ryerson University.

The first speaker during the gala was Tyler Handley, an entrepreneur that was fed up with the permanence of tattoos and turned that problem into a product. He and his brother set out to develop a tattoo that wouldn’t leave them regretting the decision when they are older. They came up with InkBox, a company which has developed the world’s first non-permanent, but real looking tattoo.

The first round of awards for the night were then announced. The Innovation Catalyst award which recognizes the venture that has proven to be a real game changer in their chosen industry with creativity, passion and hard work was given to Proxi-Meet. The Startup for Change award was given to Creativity Through Arts. The Ignited award, which recognizes the team that demonstrated perseverance and a positive impact within their community through the message spread by their venture was given to Retina Marketing.

To congratulate an outstanding SAGE Canada team member, Virusan Wignarajah was named the Startup Consultant of the year, which recognizes that he has shown true passion and dedication in aiding his assigned venture to success.

SAGE Canada also wanted to recognize two students that stood out. The Youth Entrepreneur Of the Year Award, which recognizes a youth entrepreneur who has made an outstanding contribution to their venture and SAGE team was given to Alexia Wu from Toronto Story. The Women in Entrepreneurship award, which recognizes a young female entrepreneur who has shown great initiative and continuously proves to be an inspiration for her team and beyond was given to Betty Pu from Proxi-Meet.

Muskoka, a band comprised of young artists from Richmond Hill, entertained the audience with a musical set and then the crowd had a fun MindGameZ competition hosted by the Purple Patch Inc. where registered teams will engage in a preliminary round of tough questions with topics ranging from the current economy, business fundamentals and science. The top six teams qualified for the grand finale and the winners were awarded prizes.

Our second speaker of the night was Chivon John, who is a multi-passionate entrepreneur, speaker, writer and wellness and business strategist. She shared her struggles with entrepreneurship and emphasized the importance of taking care of yourself so you can take care of your start-up and also gave the students some great advice on how to be successful in the industry.

Finally, it was time to announce the final winners of the night. The Socially Responsible Business (SRB) runner up was Toronto Story. This company aims to unite the diverse voices of our city by sharing their stories. Their mission is to give Torontonians the opportunity to connect with each other and the city on a more personal level. This means being able to find relatable places and perspectives, while contrasting them with their own experiences. The company takes people’s experiences with a location in Toronto that is significant to them, and interpret them into a simplistic design. These designs are then printed on apparel to spread the stories, and a full written transcript of the story is also printed online for readers. Every story and every location that is shared ultimately portrays Toronto’s story.  

After her team’s big win, Alexia Wu from Toronto Story said “in that moment I knew that all the hard work and countless hours our team put into our business had paid off.

The success we experienced is credited to everyone who supported, helped and cheered for us along the way. SAGE will always have a special place in my heart, and I’m so grateful to now have a tangible piece of this journey through the award.”  

The Social Enterprise Business (SEB) runner-up was SpitStrips, a company with a goal to promote responsible drinking. The SpitStrip itself is a portable, user-friendly alcohol detector that effectively determines one’s blood alcohol level. The company behind this product know that by making this available at event venues, customers, their loved ones, and society as a whole will be positively impacted.

The winner of the Social Enterprise Business SEB was HelpWear, which was founded by André Bertram and Frank Nguyen. Operated out of Ryerson University’s Zone Learning ecosystem, the venture strives to improve home health care by developing affordable and accessible products for patients around the world. The company is currently developing its first product, the HeartWatch. This product allows for 24/7 at-home heart monitoring, with an embedded emergency contact system for further prevention and better treatment of heart related illnesses.

Bertram said he is “honoured to represent Canada, and youth entrepreneurship as a whole, in an opportunity as spectacular as the SAGE World Cup in Manila. It was a privilege to compete against fellow Canadian innovators, some of which will be our friends for years to come.”

The winner of the SRB category was Sitto, a Junior Achievement Company founded by 42 dedicated and aspirational students, who aim to ease the process of connecting babysitters and families, and to simplify the payment process between both parties. Described as the “Uber of Babysitting”, their services are offered in the form of a mobile application. The babysitting industry is a relatively untapped and traditional market, which has yet to be technologically revolutionized. Sitto aims to change the world of babysitting by introducing a technology-based solution that subsequently enhances the convenience and efficiency of this demanded service.

Drew Barot from Sitto said that the competition wasoverall, a fantastic experience. I went to SAGE last year, and this year was even better. Amazing venue, great people, enjoyable activities, and a lot more. Honestly one of the better experiences I’ve had this year! I hope to be back next year.”

There were many thanks to everyone that was involved in planning and attending the event from president Kathryn Gamis. Nationals was a huge success and SAGE Canada is excited to see what future ventures will bring to the organization.  

Check out the recap video of the competition by Serena Harding.

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TheSTAGE: National Competition 2016 Winners Announced

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SAGE Canada held their national competition entitled “TheSTAGE” on Friday, May 13th at St. James Cathedral’s Snell Hall.

Talented high school students presented their start-up businesses in front of a panel of judges to qualify for a chance to represent Canada globally as youth entrepreneurs. The competition was in search for the top 12 socially innovative youth ventures nationwide, to compete at our national stage for a chance to represent Canada globally as youth entrepreneurs. This year’s winners will have the chance to compete at the SAGE World Cup against 31 participating countries in Manila, Philippines. The winners were announced at a gala at St. Andrew’s Club & Conference Centre.

The winner of the Social Enterprise Business (SEB) was HelpWear, which was founded by André Bertram and Frank Nguyen. Operated out of Ryerson University’s Zone Learning ecosystem, the venture strives to improve home health care by developing affordable and accessible products for patients around the world. The company is currently developing its first product, the HeartWatch. This product allows for 24/7 at-home heart monitoring, with an embedded emergency contact system for further prevention and better treatment of heart related illnesses.

The winner of the Socially Responsible Business (SRB) category was Sitto, a Junior Achievement Company founded by 42 dedicated and aspirational students, who aim to ease the process of connecting babysitters and families, and to simplify the payment process between both parties. Described as the “Uber of Babysitting”, their services are offered in the form of a mobile application. The babysitting industry is a relatively untapped and traditional market, which has yet to be technologically revolutionized. Sitto aims to change the world of babysitting by introducing a technology-based solution that subsequently enhances the convenience and efficiency of this demanded service.

SAGE (Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship), is an international network that links teams of secondary school students to nearby university and college students, business leaders and civic leaders. The primary goal of SAGE is to advance youth entrepreneurship and community service around the world, emphasizing economic opportunity, ethical business practices, social responsibility, civic engagement and environmental awareness. We give students the opportunity to receive hands on experience by putting theory into practice.

Students create innovative projects that impact their school and the community. These projects have limitless opportunities and give students a chance to expand their network, develop all of their skills and experience business first hand. SAGE offers students not only the opportunity to make the world a better place, but also to compete on a regional, national and global level by showcasing their initiatives and success stories.

 

SAGE Canada Calls Youth Entrepreneurs to TheSTAGE

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SAGE Canada, a non-profit organization that promotes entrepreneurship among high school students, presents its annual national competition: TheSTAGE. The competition, which will be held on Friday, May 13, 2016, will give students the opportunity to showcase their business ventures and ideas to industry professionals.

SAGE Canada is part of a larger international organization that promotes youth entrepreneurship and hosts an annual international competition where SAGE teams from across the globe come together to present their businesses in two categories: Social Enterprise Business and Socially Responsible Business.

Canadian teens ranging from ages 13 to 18 are eligible to apply and be selected to compete at TheSTAGE. SAGE Canada will be receiving various applications, including youth who have developed products that make at-home heart monitoring more accessible, products that test blood alcohol levels to reduce drunk driving and a t-shirt line that embodies different views from Torontonians.  The TOP 12 applicants will have the chance to compete at the competition, and the winning team will compete at the SAGE Global Competition in Manila, Philippines.

To APPLY:

  • Must be 13-18 years old and a Canadian resident
  • Apply through the SAGE Canada website
  • Send a five minute YouTube Video Including:
    • Venture and what it is about
    • When and how the venture started
    • WHY YOU (Value Proposition)
    • Impact and Results
    • Overview of Future Plans
  • Provide video link within the application form
  • Be creative!

Applications will close on MARCH 24TH, 2016.

TheSTAGE  is an excellent platform for students to step into the entrepreneurial world and showcase their ideas to industry professionals and tech experts.  Competitions like these are a great way for young innovators to start networking with like-minded individuals, experience what the professional entrepreneurship community is like and become prepared for their future journey as entrepreneurs.

For more information, please contact SAGE Canada’s president Kathryn Gamis at president@sagecanada.com

Young Entrepreneurs Showcase Business Ventures at SAGE Canada’s Venture Conference

SAGE Canada’s very first <Ad>Venture Conference on Feb. 27 was a huge success for youth entrepreneurs, university students and industry professionals.

The aim of the conference was to help young entrepreneurs in the GTA with personal development, particularly public speaking and pitching business ideas. The day began with a quiz segment called Mind Games run by The Purple Patch Inc., a business advisory company, that warmed up the students and helped them network with entrepreneurs from other schools.

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Students work on a quiz presented by Purple Patch Inc.

Following their presentation, the Ryerson Toastmasters team consisting of President Abdul Matin Khandwala and Vice President of Education Zack Korn took the stage. The pair engaged with the students in a public speaking workshop that included breathing and mouth exercises, tips on how to speak clearly and persuade their audience, how to use hand gestures effectively and how to give feedback to other speakers.

Students were excited to put these new lessons to work, when they were asked to practice pitching their businesses in their school groups. This was a chance for the youth to gain confidence during public speaking, a skill that they’ll be able to apply at TheSTAGE, SAGE’s national competition. One student with the best pitch from each group was chosen to pitch his or her business to the entire room in under 60 seconds.

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Ryerson Toastmasters’ Zack Korn teaches youth about public speaking through unique speech exercises.

After an amazing round of pitches from the students, the Toastmasters team picked three students: André Betram from HelpWear, Umer Mirza from Limitless Co. and Shayan Hasan from Buzz Marketing, to compete in the final round and pitch their business ventures to industry professionals and other university students.

The conference moved to the Sears Atrium in the George Vari Engineering building for a networking dinner, keynote speakers and the final pitch competition. The room had creative art installations from each team mounted on the wall, in order to showcase the hard work and dedication high school students are putting in their business ventures.

Grade 12 Danforth Collegiate students Frank Nguyen and André Bertram attended the conference and are the minds behind their venture called HelpWear, in which they have designed a watch that tracks blood pressure, heart rate and blood oxygen levels. If signs of a heart attack are present, the watch will call EMS services.

Betram looked forward to the networking opportunities at the conference, as it would allow his team to showcase their work and learn about business and entrepreneurship from different professionals.adcon4

“It’s important for us young entrepreneurs to meet each other and network.” said Bertram.

The pair, and many other teenagers, are working towards winning the SAGE national competition and move on to the global competition, which will be held in Manila, Philippines in the summer of 2016.

Other students like Jinzi Huang, a student at Riverdale Collegiate Institute, said that the event allowed her to step outside of her comfort zone and gain public speaking skills that aren’t taught in classrooms.

“High schools already think you know how to present. I’ve never actually been taught the skills needed to present,” she said, adding that the Toastmasters activity would help her in future presentations, not only as an entrepreneur but also as a student. “I became a lot more open and less nervous.”

Students from William Lyon Mackenzie C.I., who developed SpitStrip, an innovative and inexpensive way to test a user’s blood alcohol concentration instead of using a breathalyzer, were initially nervous about public speaking.

Their startup consultant Virusan Wignarajah said some of the students didn’t know how to successfully pitch their company, but after having the opportunity to practice their pitching, it didn’t seem like such a challenging task.

“They have a lot of confidence going forward because now every single member of our team is going to go out in the real world and pitch their business to investors,” said Wignarajah.

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Finalists participate in Purple Patch Inc.’s final competition that tests their knowledge and public speaking skills.

Chaith Kommamuri, Co-founder of the Purple Patch Inc was impressed with the event and the opportunity it gave to students

“The enthusiasm and attendance was great today. The students were pretty competitive and showed a lot of energy,” he said, adding that this conference was a great way for students to see what the real business world is like and build a network early on.

Keynote speaker Sharn Kandola, the director of Startup Grind Toronto and the Co-Founder of Fee Duck told students that entrepreneurship is the door to the world they want to create.

“We don’t see enough of this [student entrepreneurship],” she said. “What SAGE has done is beautiful.”

The second keynote speaker was Ben Zifkin, the CEO and founder of Hubba.

Students' business ventures were showcased to industry professionals through unique photos that represented the ideas and themes of their businesses.

Students’ business ventures were showcased to industry professionals through unique photos that represented the ideas and themes of their businesses.

Instead of a pre-planned speech, he challenged students to ask any questions about being an entrepreneur they had and received some great questions about things that students can expect in real life situations.

The importance of having skills that translate into the real world, but also the student’s business’  was another theme of the conference. At the end of the night, Jun Seo and Kelly Xiao were announced as the winners of the Purple Patch quiz competition.

“I want my team members to be in the position that they will be able to look back five or ten years at their time at SAGE and say I was able to learn so many things that actually helped me in the business world,” said Wignarajah.

The SAGE team is working hard to prepare students for the main competition, which will be held in May 2016.

By: Josie Mills

Sparking Youth Entrepreneurial Spirit