Chesterville firm makes the cut with ‘Lead to Win’ pitch

Evoweigh proprietors Hayley and Matt Cooke were accepted into the Cornwall Innovation Centre's Lead to Win Program, following their successful pitch at the Centre's inaugural Venture Demo Day. Nation Valley News file photo

Evoweigh makes successful pitch

CORNWALL – The Cornwall Innovation Centre has green-lighted three firms to move forward as top contenders for the Lead To Win program — including Chesterville-based Evoweigh.

“We were very impressed by the level of pitches,” said John Rattray, a member of the four-member review panel and co-chair of the CIC’s Board of Directors.  “It’s a sure sign of the strength of ideas and the power of our local entrepreneurs.”

A total of eight participants from six ventures pitched their business plans to a review panel made up of local business professionals including Rattray, Lesley Lang of the Community Future Development Corporation, Gerry Benson of The Benson Group, and Tom Kaneb of Gus-Kan ULC. Each entrepreneur had 20 minutes with the panel—10 minutes to present and 10 minutes to answer questions.

The pitches came from entrepreneurs in varied fields, including agri-tech, digital media, consulting and tech. The review panel tallied results and rated each venture Green, Yellow or Red.

“Green” ventures are now subject to a further and final review of their growth plans, and successful candidates will be welcomed into Lead To Win. “Yellow” ventures were directed to continue to build their business case and invited to return to pitch at future events. “Red” ventures were alerted to deficiencies in their plans and advised to rework their approach.

Evoweigh, headed by Chesterville-area residents Hayley and Matt Cooke, made the green cut.

“We are very pleased to be accepted into the program, and look forward to working with the Lead to Win team to achieve our goals,” said Hayley Cooke from Evoweigh’s North Dundas headquarters at Maple Ridge Centre. She acknowledged the Launch Lab team in Kingston — Sam Khan and Scott Runte — as well as Lesley Lang and Melissa Ferguson of the Cornwall & the Counties Community Futures Development Corporation for helping Evoweigh “focus our pitch and get the green on the first attempt.”

“We will be staying in the local area to assemble our products, and intend to employ 15 local people by 2019,” added Cooke.

Evoweigh recently hatched out of the MB Foster Associates Ltd. building in Chesterville, where local tech entrepreneur Birket Foster’s long-established data migration company has lately emerged as a private incubator hub — also serving as the home of Nation Valley News and the Storm Internet outlet.  The Cookes have since moved their operation to Maple Ridge Centre, another private multi-business facility, owned by Conrad and Rachel Potvin, located across from North Dundas District High School.

The CIC’s Lead To Win program is a unique offering in the region. It is modelled after Carleton University’s LTW program, named one of the Top 10 accelerator programs in North America.

The three successful ventures will be guided to grow their businesses into generating $1 million in revenue in their third year of operation. They will benefit from access to high-level mentorship, capacity development events, early buyer support, funding, IT support, co-working spaces at the NAV Centre and on-site wellness amenities.

Also green-rated at the inaugural Venture Demo Day in Cornwall were:

  • Smart Greens, based in Cornwall, and presented by Eric Bergeron and Eric Lang. The company is building a network of local hydroponic farmers growing fresh greens in their respective communities across Canada and the United States.

  • A third entrepreneur with a consultancy based in Cornwall. (Details cannot be announced at this time.)

 

The next Venture Demo Day is set for May 31.