The Montreal Green Business Incubator: Planting The Seed For an Eco-Future
After receiving a funding from Chantiers jeunesse, TakingITGlobal and the Government of Canada, we decided we wanted to expand our organization’s initiative of bridging the disconnect between youth, entrepreneurship and environmentalism by hosting green business incubators in Montreal and Toronto. Last week, the Pitch It Green team left “homebase” and arrived in a city that is historic yet booming with innovation: Montreal.
On the morning of February 15th, we stepped foot in our beautiful meeting space and greeted our guest speakers Chris Lawrence, Steve Daniel, Chantal Bossé, and Amr Addas.
Chris is a freelancing marketing educator, and he opened with the story of Emirate Airlines, a company with an image that is completely different from their actual policies. How did they do it? With commercials that tug at the audience’s heartstrings. With this, he then explained to us the importance of using photography to tell the stories we want to tell in the rest of his workshop.
To which Steve, who is a content creator and marketing strategist, built on with ways of using our own resources actualize ideas. His methods were encouraging to hear, as it shows that anyone is able to take their idea off the ground if they are willing to put the work in to get there.
Then, we heard from the wonderful Chantal Bossé, who is the president of CHABOS on how to harness the power we have in ourselves with our presence and presentation giving skills. Her secret ingredient is structuring her talks so the listeners would be able to follow along better, thus making the pitcher's ideas more poignant and memorable.
Lastly, we heard from Amr Addas, a professor from Concordia University on the financial perspective on the rewards of sustainability and the future of impact investing. His insights were fascinating, and shows the feasibility in having an eco-focused business with the climate crisis.
Following the incredible workshops, we heard from our judges Marie Frédérique St-Onge, Outreach and Development Officer at Chantiers jeunesse, Niamh Leonard, the Program Coordinator of the Canada Climate Law Initiative, and Gaultier Vendioux, a business developer whose focus is on helping to expand small businesses into a larger market. They come from diverse backgrounds but all have one common goal: giving advice and industry connections to startups that are infused with a passion for causes that the ecopreneur believes in.
Our participants, as it turns out, had just what the judges were looking for. The First place went to William Fidèle: who pitched the idea of having a social media platform where individuals compete to have a lower carbon footprint. His idea will soon be on Kickstarter, and when he proposed his vision to the judges, they unanimously agreed that William’s idea was a great one and even offered him some industry connections that would help his idea off the ground. However, the participants were not the only ones who got feedback: Pitch It Green also got some pointers as to where to next take our organization, as we go onwards from our sophomore year.
At last, we had an eventful day filled with rewarding and enlightening workshops and nurtured innovation. We are thankful for the participation of those who devoted their time to our event as everyone offered a unique perspective on the future of green business. We are more than excited to listen to the new ideas at our upcoming event.
Our event couldn’t have been possible without the help of Chantiers jeunesse, TakingITGlobal, and the Government of Canada.
Next up, we have the Toronto Green Business Incubator on March 14th, 15th, & the 21st. This incubator is a free event for high school students to cultivate their skills in becoming ecopreneurs, by participating in interactive workshops and networking activities. It will all come together on the final day, when the students present their green business plan to their peers and mentors in order to receive valuable feedback. All students will be given participation awards and will have the opportunity to be selected by our mentors to receive pro bono business coaching in order to actualize their business plan.