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Queen’s students win $150,000 PELA loans for new businesses

winners Queen's PELA competition

MP Daryl Kramp speaks with Patrick Leslie and Kieran Lafferty about their new business - Envirolytics, based on a smartphone app to provide custom solutions for improving home energy efficiency. They plan to locate in Picton. The business is one of three to receive $150,000 business loans from PELA CFDC.

Prince Edward Lennox & Addington Community Futures Development Corporation (PELA CFDC) introduced three new businesses – winners of $150,000 business loans from PELA and Queen’s University Business Plan Competition.
“The three winning teams of this exciting competition presented business ideas that tap into our counties’ growing reputation as rural hubs for creativity, innovation and the knowledge economy,” said Craig Desjardins, executive director, PELA CFDC.
The competition’s aim was to prepare students for opportunities in entrepreneurship by educating them in the process of creating and evaluation new business ventures and to provide significant start-up capital for exceptional ideas. The teams competed against six finalists on March 5 to vie for the three $150,000 business loans.
“The primary objective,” said Desjardins “is new venture development and job creation – to encourage students to act on their ideas and talent and to create the leading companies of the future. It will help entrepreneurs get products to the marketplace and contribute to long-term economic competitiveness by fostering ideas, innovation and inventiveness.”
Two of the winning teams will be opening Picton-based businesses.
Mechanical Engineering student Patrick Leslie is developing a smartphone app which provides custom solutions for improving home energy efficiency.
AMBA graduate Tim Ray will locate his business head office in Picton. His plan brings the on-line group buying phenomenon to the grocery industry and has just launched in Toronto.
MBA grads Ricky Chandarana, Simon Hamilton and Chris Sinkinson are developing a restaurant management system utilizing tablet computers like Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy.
“One of our ongoing objectives is to attract, engage and involve young people in establishing innovative businesses and meaningful employment opportunities in both Prince Edward and L&A counties,” said John Licharson, chairman of PELA CFDC. “These three ventures are on the cutting edge. Their success will provide a solid building block for sustainable, long-term economic growth and prosperity in this area.”
Desjardins noted that with a new high-tech business incubation facility in Picton soon to be announced, and a wealth of successful business leaders willing to mentor new entrepreneurs, the counties both provide excellent opportunities for forward-thinking entrepreneurs.
“The QSB-PELA Business Plan Competition has shown once again that Queen’s students have great entrepreneurial ideas,” said Dr. Yolande Chan, Director of The Monieson Centre at Queen’s School of Business. “All of the finalists presented viable ideas and I am confident the winning businesses will enhance the economic and social fabric of the Prince Edward, Lennox and Addington region.”
The loans will be administered by PELA CFDC and principal payments will be reinvested in the communities to provide future opportunity for business growth and job creation.
“Moreover,” said Desjardins, “this project is scalable and will build a model for a successful business planning competition – one that results in real businesses and real jobs – that can be implemented at academic institutions and in rural communities in other geographical areas.”

Filed Under: Local News


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  1. Debra Marshall says:

    Congratulations to the young entrepreneurs opening their businesses in Prince Edward County! What is really interesting is that two of the teams’ leaders are from the Quinte area ( Belleville) so it is great to see that some of our region’s youth are coming back to their home regions after completing their post secondary educations. Youth migration in reverse! It’s a start, lets keep it up!

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