August 10, 2022
Venture for Canada (VFC), where Canada’s next entrepreneurial leaders get their start, announced the recipients of the 2021 and 2022 Cohort Inclusive Entrepreneurship Award funded by RBC Future Launch. The annual award launched in 2017 recognizes Fellows of the most recent graduating cohort for their inclusive leadership skills over the one-year Venture for Canada Fellowship.
The 2021 Fellowship entered the workforce amid a global pandemic, showing incredible resilience and amplitude for change. The 2022 Cohort has recently begun its journey, launching into an ambiguous startup job market, demonstrating ambition and willingness to make an impact. Over the past two years, more than 2800 young Canadians have shown interest in participating in VFC’s Fellowship over the past two years, indicating the demand for youth leadership programs so that the next generation can fulfil their entrepreneurial potential.
RBC Future Launch empowers today’s youth for tomorrow’s jobs. VFC’s Fellowship program equips recent grads to enter in-demand roles in the startup and innovation sector by providing them with ongoing support through a year-long leadership program. Fellows develop the skills and network required to succeed in their careers while participating in immersive in-person training camps and hybrid professional development environments that include coaching, mentorship, and access to entrepreneurial leaders across Canada.
VFC is grateful to RBC for the support and the mutual commitment to disproportionally serving individuals from underrepresented in Canada’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, focusing on EDI. In 2021 and 2022, 60% of the Fellowship identified as being BIPOC (black, Indigenous, and/or People of Colour), newcomers, folks with disabilities, students living in rural communities, 2SLGBTQ and/or women studying in STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.)
Scott Stirrett, Founder and CEO of Venture for Canada.
“Young entrepreneurs can help all Canadians by creating new solutions for social, environmental and financial challenges we’re witnessing across Canada if we enable them to thrive in inclusive and innovative environments. We are incredibly grateful to RBC for supporting VFC Fellows.”
QUOTE FROM RBC
“Working with organizations, like VFC, we see the core promise of RBC Future Launch come to life,” said Mark Beckles, Vice President, Social Impact & Innovation, RBC. “At its heart entrepreneurship is such a courageous endeavor and to see these young leaders innovate, disrupt, and change the future is awe-inspiring. These are the projects and leaders to watch!”
ABOUT VENTURE FOR CANADA
Venture for Canada is a national charity that fosters entrepreneurial skills and mindset in young Canadians. To be entrepreneurial is to act upon opportunities to create value for others. We recruit, train, and support young people to work for innovative Canadian small businesses and startups. Through our programs, participants develop the network, knowledge, and entrepreneurial skills to have more impactful careers.
ABOUT RBC FUTURE LAUNCH
Media contact: Erica Ormiston – Marketing Manager – Venture for Canada – 902-220-7554 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Alise Grant Customer Experience at Relay (2021 Fellow)
Alise is a Dalhousie University, Commerce graduate and Venture for Canada fellow who is passionate about problem-solving through creativity and technology. At her current fintech startup, Alise works with entrepreneurs and small business owners to ensure they have the financial tools they need to grow.
Allan Batalla (2022 Fellow) Busines Development Representative at ContactMonkey
Allan joined VFC to explore entrepreneurship after finishing his science degree. He enjoys learning about startups and their roles to improve his skills and impact. He seeks to improve his thinking through reflection and seeking others’ perspectives. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor’s Degree in Life Sciences.
Analiz Ochoa (2022 Fellow) UX Designer at OwnSpace
Analiz is a curious learner and a creative problem solver. She started her career in architecture, designing start-up offices. In time, she evolved her skills to design the user experience of digital products. As a UX designer, she is motivated to create accessible experiences that help everyone navigate spaces, whether physical, digital or hybrids. She has a Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Architecture from Carleton University.
Anamika Saxena (2022 Fellow) Founder of Storybox MC
Anamika is the founder of Storybox Mentor Connect, which connects international students directly to Canadian Universities. Anamika’s vision is to build a global hub for students and immigrants. Her values are respect, trust, and community oriented. She received several entrepreneurial awards like RBC global idea award and the 1st Mackenna Leadership Award. She graduated from Saint Francis Xavier University with Masters in Applied Computer Science.
Andrew Herold (2022 Fellow) Growth Hacker at Kaitongo
Andrew strives to live his best life, with dreams of revolutionizing what it means to do business by bringing social and environmental change into its foundations through entrepreneurship. An altruistic, innovative leader with dreams of travelling the world, he is inspired by new ways to utilize business in fostering positive and impactful change. Andrew graduated from the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University with a Bachelor of Commerce in Global Bussiness Management and Marketing.
Andrew Nguyen (2022 Fellow) Founder at Kozu
Andrew is a serial entrepreneur who founded multiple businesses for his family. This built his tenacity in business and leadership. He’s a fun, young-at-heart curious learner who values living life’s full potential through a growth mindset and shared experiences. Voted the Most Inclusive Fellow by his cohort at VFC, Andrew instills his community-centric values where people matter most. He holds a Master of Management from UBC Sauder School of Business and a Bachelor of Science in Good Nutrition and Health from the Univerity of British Columbia.
Bashara Hussain (2022 Fellow)
Bashara is a social entrepreneurship enthusiast. Through her work and studies in economic development, she explored topics such as wealth inequality and the climate crisis. She is endlessly optimistic about creating a more balanced world and wants to spend her time at VFC learning about ways to empower those most endangered in today’s fragile world. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.
Ben Jones (2022) Partnerships and Demand Generation at FulFil.IO
Ben is ambitious and entrepreneurially minded with a knack for solving complex problems without clear answers. He aspires to use business as a force for social good and is always open to connecting with those working on impactful projects. Ben currently holds an HBA from the Ivey School of Business.
Ben Peres (2021 Fellow) Brand Strategist at Dash, Hudson and Staff Writer at Urban Pitch
Ben is a keen marketing professional currently working at a Social Media Management software company. He prides himself on being a creative problem solver that loves cross-team collaboration. In the future, he hopes to continue working in the tech/start-up ecosystem.
Boyang (Bo) Huang (2022 Fellow) Project Manager at Mary Agrotechnologies
Boyang is passionate about entrepreneurship and social impact. He joined the Venture For Canada Fellowship Program in the summer of 2022 to further develop his skills in entrepreneurship. Boyang enjoyed collaborating with fellows from all cultural backgrounds and building an inclusive environment at the VFC training camp.
Dylan Peters (2021 Fellow) Partnerships Coordinator at Goodkind
Dylan graduated from Carleton University in 2021 and applied to the VFC Fellowship after hearing about it from a Carleton alumnus. He currently works as a Partnerships Coordinator at Goodkind in Toronto and has previously hosted a community radio show in Ottawa, which focused on local arts and music.
Emily Fraser (2021 Fellow) Sales Development Representative Manager at #Paid
A graduate of the University of Windsor in Communication, Media, and Film and Political Science, Emily is dedicated to the media policy and regulation environment. Currently at #paid to help shape the influencer marketing industry working as the Sales Development Manager.
Emily Wong (2021 Fellow) Product Specialist at Swyched
Emily is a Product Specialist working in cleantech, where she gets to combine my background in electrical engineering and her passion for UI/UX design. Through thoughtful user experiences, she’s striving to make electric mobility more accessible and ready to scale. Emily graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Electrical Engineering and completed a Venture for Cnaad Internship before becoming a Fellow.
Erik Oliver (2021 Fellow) Solutionsist at Iron House Productions
Erik is a self-sufficient, proactive problem solver with a growth mindset and a passion for entrepreneurship, growth/scalability, and collaboratively solving issues in a smarter way. He loves travelling, going on adventures and trying new experiences. Eric graduated from Mount Allision University with a Bachelor of Commerce Honours in Strategic Management.
Evan Horvath (2022 Fellow)
Evan is a graduate of Civil Engineering and Business from the Ivey School of Business at Western University and a 2022 Venture for Canada Fellow. He is excited by the puzzle of finding product market fit and iterating on strategies to solve the challenges of this generation. He is motivated to develop in the space by working and investing with start-ups that impact the global community.
Gurmol Sohi (2021 Fellow) Technical Insturstor, MakerKids
Gurmol has been interested in entrepreneurship from a young age. The COVID pandemic helped spark his interest in development when he started participating in online hackathons in various sectors like healthcare, food insecurity and neuro-tech. He graduated from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT). He hopes to use his VFC experience to grow and optimize startups’ operations and impact.
Hanneke de Roo (2021 Fellow) Scientific Business Analyst at MotionHall
Passionate about being at the forefront of science and supporting solutions to build a better future, Hanneke is Interested in the intersection of science and society. She is currently working at a tech start-up focused on deal enablement in the Biotech sector. She graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Biotechnology.
Hossein Raeisi Nafchi (2022 Fellow)
Hossein’s superpower is building relationships. In 2018, he immigrated to Canada knowing only a handful of people. So, for the past four years, he sought opportunities to join ambitious communities like Shad and VFC to meet new people. Hossein values fostering a sense of belonging wherever he goes and enjoys helping people who are hungry for growth. He moved to Canada to complete a Bachelor of Medical Sciences in Interdisciplinary Medical Science and Physiology.
Jacqui Yang (2021 Fellow) Investment Analyst at Leva Capital
Jacqui Yang has a background in finance and economics from the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management, graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce. Working as an analyst at an early-stage venture capital fund in Toronto, she has the opportunity to meet some amazing entrepreneurs in the ecosystem. During her spare time, she plays tennis and loves exploring restaurants in Toronto.
James Del Castillo (2022) Management Consultant at CGI
New opportunities that exist and innovations that are being created by people from all walks of life inspire James to always expand his knowledge with curiosity for others and help build strong connections. He always assumes that someone has something to offer in a conversation as he continues to find great insight from hearing people’s journeys. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce with a Minor in Economics from McMaster University.
Justin Collett (2021 Fellow) Strategy and Planning Analyst at Valocity Global
Justin is a creative problem solver with over three years of experience working in several roles ranging from data analytics to operations within the tech sector. He thrives in ambiguity by removing ego and using data to find the truth while building bridges between technical teams and stakeholders. He graduated from the University of New Brunswick with a Bachelor of Science in Geomatics Engineering and the British Institute of Technology with an Advanced Diploma in Sustainable Business Leadership.
Justin Kovacs (2022 Fellow) Executive Operations Assitance at CiteRight
Justin is a recent grad from Toronto Metropolitan University, graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics and Management Science. His interest is in early-stage ventures in the social impact space. Most recently, he worked with a medical device Startup on their
go-to-market strategy. As a result of this, he was awarded the Social Ventures Prize, which serves as funding for students working on social innovation projects.
Karan (KJ) Jhajj (2022 Fellow) Private Equity Analyst at InvestBev
Earning a BBA degree, Karan attributes his development to his insatiable desire to learn and focus on self-improvement. To him being an entrepreneur is a mindset of identifying and acting on opportunities to create value for others rather than a title. As a leader, integrity, humility, self-awareness, and a willingness to help are core values to Karan.
Khalil Mulji (2022 Fellow)
Khalil is an entrepreneurial thinker who loves learning about new topics and ideas, meeting people, and growing as an individual and as a leader. During his undergraduate degree, he refined his skills in problem-solving, interpersonal communication and public speaking. Khalil is passionate about creating change to solve society’s biggest problems. He graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and a Minor in Nanoscience.
Khanh Do (2022 Fellow) Business Development Representative at Viafoura
Originally from Vietnam, Khanh graduated from St Thomas University with a President scholarship. Khanh pitched her sustainable clothing line idea at VFC Innovation Jam 2019. She received a runner-up award and launched the brand in 2020 while leading fundraising at Enactus and TEDx.
Kris Grigoryan (2022 Fellow) Business Development and Customer Success Associate
Kris loves connecting with different professionals in the start-up community and learning about them and their stories. Passionate about all things people and impact, she uses psychology to guide her work. She is excited about watching herself and all of her VFC fellows grow and use entrepreneurial mindsets to create lasting change in communities. She graduated from Saint
Mary’s University with a Bachelor of Commerce.
Luke Martin (2022 Fellow) Founder at “adore.”
Luke has a strong passion for building businesses and is now the founder of “adore.” The company is focused on producing clothing and home goods, all while finding ways to collaborate and support local artists and creators. His life goal is to build a community to empower the
people around him. Luke graduated from Concordia University with a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing.
Marina Radovanovic (2022 Fellow) Product Manager at FigBytes
Marina is a Masters of Entrepreneurship (MMIE) graduate from the Smith School of Business. VFC provided Marina with the foundations to become a social intrapreneur and Product Manager at FigBytes. Marina now helps our planet by creating solutions to make the “S” in ESG purposeful and easier to report.
McKenna Barr (2022 Fellow)
McKenna has led her life through impact, believing every interaction had in her daily and online life is an opportunity to help another flourish. Her optimistic outlook allows her to rise to the challenge of adversity. McKenna is excited to see where her entrepreneurial spirit will lead her next. She graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Global Studies.
Mollie Smith (2022 Fellow) Freelance Digital Media Consultant
Mollie is unabashedly curious to learn something new whenever possible. When she joined VFC, she was the first to volunteer as a homeroom leader. She has always had an open mind, especially during training camp. At the end of camp, she was voted for by her peers for the Most Resilient Fellow Award. She recently completed a Master’s Degree in Digital Communications.
And Media/ Multimedia from Toronto Metropolitan University. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Mount Royal University with a Major in Journalism.
Nimrat Brar (2022 Fellow)
With her ambition and creativity as driving points, Nimrat has challenged the traditional pathway that her business degree laid out for her. Today, she is actively looking for opportunities that foster growth and allow her to showcase the unique set of skills she developed while working 14 different jobs since the age of 16. She graduated with A BBA from the Goodman School of Business at Brock University.
Paige Kunihiro (2021 Fellow) Solutions Consultant at Hyre
Growing up, Paige imagined pursuing a traditional career path. Instead, key experiences re-shaped her focus and drew her to the tech start-up space. Working with incredibly talented, resilient and creative individuals inspired her to leverage a powerful industry to make a meaningful impact.
Romanos Byliris (2022 Fellow) Marketing Project Manager at Nexe Innovations
Romanos is a problem solver and a learner with a knack for empathizing with customers’ needs. An entrepreneur at heart, he loves helping great companies grow and translating business goals into impactful KPIs. With a background in marketing, research, and cognitive science, he aims to build products that positively impact the world. He graduated from Simon Fraser Univerity with a Bachelor of Arts in Co-operative Education and Cognitive Science.
Rammeya Jegatheeswaran (2021 Fellow) Community Engineer at Commit
Rammeya Jegatheeswaran is a 2021 Venture for Canada Alumni who is passionate about mental health advocacy, DEI, creative work, growth, marketing, and people operations. Rammeya has a Master’s Degree in Business Management from the Schulich School of Business at York University. Previously she obtained a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Psychology from York University.
Reem Zaid (2022 Fellow)
Reem graduated from SAIT with BBA majoring in Supply Chain. She moved to Canada 6 years ago to escape a devastating war in Yemen. Reem has always been passionate about entrepreneurship and creating a difference. She volunteered with Enactus for four years as a project manager and used these skills to create her own project titled “VISION 2025” afterwards.
Richa Alvares (2022 Fellow)
Richa is a Life Sciences co-op graduate from McMaster University. Wanting to keep an open mind with her education and future career, Richa also pursued a Business minor and a French certificate while exploring co-op experiences at start-ups in the health and ed-tech spaces.
Sarah Eslamdoust (2022) Special Projects at UpBeing
Sarah has just started working at UpBeing, a VFC alumni-founded 4-person startup based out of Toronto. After studying computer science, teaching math graduating from the British Columbia Institute of Technology and running a marketing agency, Sarah is excited to learn and grow as much as possible with the help of UpBeing and the fast-paced environment that an early-stage startup provides.
Tiffany Ho (2021 Fellow) Driver Support at Cardata.
Tiffany has always loved understanding the why and concept of things which led her to study economics. She is curious and driven by new adventures. Tiffany graduated from Queen’s University in Applied Economics and Global Development.
Yian Wang (2021 Fellow) UX Researcher at Architech
Yian Wang currently works as UX Researcher with a background in stats, econ, and math. She loves numbers and the stories they tell and is particularly drawn to the intersection of data and design. By making ethical data-driven decisions, she aims to bridge the gap between research
and product. Yian graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Science in Statistics and Economics.
Wing Dao (2021 Fellow) Data Analyst at Mero Technologies
As a child of immigrants, Wing majored in Physics at Wilfrid Laurier University. She also completed a Certificate in Business Analysis at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies. Over the years, Wing has gained experiences in academia and insight into entrepreneurship from elective activities, later exploring entrepreneurship beyond traditional schooling. This path would lead her to her current role.