Toronto’s young socially conscious entrepreneurs are being invited to enter their business idea in a contest that will provide funding and mentorship. Although Project Wildfire hopes to attract participants from Toronto Community Housing neighbourhoods, the contest is open to anyone in the city aged 19 to 29, beginning April 6.
They are also offering free workshops in advance.
To enter, youth must upload a 60-to-90-second video of their social business idea to the Project Wildfire website (full contest details can also be found here). Participants must then get enough votes from the public (use social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter etc…to spread the word) and the Project Wildfire jury to make it to the finals, then complete a business plan under the supervision of their mentor team.
The grand prize winner will be awarded $25,000 in startup funding for their business idea, while four runners-up will get $2,500 in funding. All five winners will receive one full year of hands-on business mentorship with an experienced mentor team.
"We talked to youth across the city and there is a tremendous amount of energy and creativity just waiting to be released,” project director Mike Brcic said in a press statement. “There is no lack of ideas, especially in our priority neighbourhoods — just a lack of support and opportunities. Project Wildfire offers a comprehensive model for giving them that support, including significant funding and an amazing mentor team with an incredible track record of success."
Through ongoing free workshops, online podcasts, low interest business loans and other resources, everyone who enters the contest will have access to a wide range of assistance.
To register in advance for a free workshop, go to www.projectwildfire.ca. Catering is provided by Starbucks.
An introduction to entrepreneurship and social business*
April 06, 6:30 pm: Regent Park Centre for Learning, 540 Dundas St. E
April 11, 6:30 pm: Ryerson University (Ted Rogers School of Management, 7th floor)
April 12, 6:30 pm: Lawrence Heights (10 Old Meadow Lane)
April 13, 6:30 pm: East Scarborough Storefront (4040 Lawrence Ave E)
April 14, 6:30 pm: For Youth Initiative, 1652 Keele Street
-an introduction to entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship
-how to identify business opportunities
-how to turn opportunities into viable ideas
-how to craft a compelling pitch based on your idea
*this workshop is two to two-and-a-half hours long and after each workshop, participants will be able to record and upload their video pitch with equipment available on site.
About the project partners:
The Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) is a shared workspace in downtown Toronto that is home to over 200 nonprofits, charities and social entrepreneurs. CSI's mission is to spark and support new ideas that are tackling the social, environmental, economic and cultural challenges we face today.
Ryerson Entrepreneur Institute is focused on promoting and supporting entrepreneurship and enterprising initiatives through education, resources, research and outreach. REI leverages the award winning StartMeUp Program to help students and alumni turn their ideas into reality.
Toronto Community Housing is the largest social housing provider in Canada and the second largest in North America. It is home to 164,000 low and moderate-income tenants in 58,500 households. Their mandate is to provide quality housing for low and moderate income households and to create community conditions that minimize risk and promote resiliency.
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