Cordelia Plant-Based Meals, a local food manufacturing business was crowned the grand prize winner at Monday night’s inaugural Startup Pitch Night held at the Delta Waterfront Hotel.
Startup Pitch Night, a Startup Canada initiative was hosted locally by StartUP Sault Ste. Marie, and featured a grand prize of $1,000 cash (sponsored by TruShield Insurance), $500 Best Youth Pitch (sponsored by YouLaunch), and $250 Best Social Enterprise Pitch award (sponsored by NORDIK Institute).
The grand prize winner was Cordelia Plant-Based Meals, a local food manufacturing business specializing in plant-based, healthy meals.
Their ready-made meals are available for point-of-sale purchase at a growing number of locations in Sault Ste. Marie. Cordelia came about after sisters/co-owners Ashleigh and Angela Sauve formed a local dinner club for healthy meals. Their meals were so popular they decided to turn it into a business.
Both sisters are already entrepreneurs - Ashleigh is the proprietor of Shabby Motley Handcraft and Angela is the director of pilates at Jade Wellness Studio. They have been focused on plant-based nutrition for many years.
"It was such an honour to pitch our business alongside such impressive local entrepreneurial talent. We are so touched to have been selected for the grand prize,” said Ashleigh Sauve. “We will be using our $1,000 prize to match with other funding, to develop our website for online ordering. Thanks again to StartUP Sault and Startup Canada for hosting this amazing event."
The Best Youth Pitch award went to Melissa Kargiannakis, Founder of Heuristext Inc. a for-profit social enterprise making information easier for anyone to understand, regardless of reading ability. Heuristext utilizes artificial intelligence to analyze content on the web, and automatically adjust the text to an appropriate reading level.
Melissa will also be pitching her business at OCE Discovery next week in Toronto, Canada’s leading innovation-to-commercialization conference. Heuristext Inc. is one of five finalists in the Accessibility Innovation Showcase, competing for a $20,000 award!
The Social Enterprise Pitch award went to Eva Dabutch of Trailblazing Beads, a social enterprise that is providing the tools necessary for indigenous customers to participate in their culture through arts and crafts.
Trailblazing Beads just recently opened their doors at 162 Gore Street, and is the only Native craft supplier in the area.
The evening also featured inspiring pitches from three other entrepreneurs, including Marcus Jakimik of EZnowPC - the first computer made specifically for seniors, Graham Nelson from Veracity Connect - an Emergency Preparedness software-as-a-service platform for Utilities, and Monique Morrison of Our Local Market - a hyper-local online shopping platform for local farmers, artisans and businesses.
“Overall, the level of talent and innovation showcased by all six local entrepreneurs was truly inspiring and exciting for the community,” stated Nevin Buconjic, StartUP Sault founder and the event’s MC. “The attendees and judges were absolutely blown away by the pitches we heard tonight. These six finalists represent up-and-coming entrepreneurs in Sault Ste. Marie, and several of the businesses are already well developed, with huge potential.”
The panel of judges included Dan Hollingsworth, executive director of the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation; Dionne Elgie, president of Village Electric; Lori Naccarato, senior manager at BDC, Tony O’Brien, executive vice president with TruShield Insurance, and Rory Ring, CEO of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce.
“It was a great pleasure to participate in the StartUp Sault Pitch Night as a judge representing the Economic Development Corporation,” said Dan Hollingsworth. “The calibre of the entrepreneurs and the excellent business ideas made the decision making process difficult. All of the participants were winners with great ideas! Congratulations to Nevin and his team of volunteers for putting together an incredible event that promotes entrepreneurship and the diversity of new businesses in our community.”
Startup Pitch Night – Sault Ste. Ste. Marie is one of ten Pitch Night events happening in Startup Communities across Ontario. To learn more, visit here.