“Age is no barrier, it is a limitation we put on the mind”. This thought provoking quote, said by world-renowned athlete Jackie Joyner Kersee, could not be truer. There are many things people do not do because they believe they are not at the right age, especially in terms of their career or business ideas. One organization changing this misconception is SAGE Canada. SAGE (Students for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship) is an organization dedicated to providing students the chance to gain entrepreneurial experience through hands on learning, educational workshops, competitions, and a network of students and industry leaders. Last Friday, May 22, SAGE Canada hosted the SAGE Nationals Competition at The Ted Rogers School of Management. High school students from around the GTA presented their business ideas to a wide variety of expert judges, which included our V.P of Strategy, James Chalmers, and our Marketing & Communications Manager, Elio Di Gregorio.
This year marks SAGE’s 6th Annual National Competition, and the students were more than prepared. With 14 teams presenting, the competition was split into two sections; 7 teams were in the “Socially Responsible Business” section and the other 7 teams were in the “Socially Ethical Business” section. All of the teams presented their business ideas flawlessly, with each team adding their own unique spin. One group even created an original song, leaving the judges speechless. The truly unique and extraordinary aspect of all these presentations was that each team had put their business idea to the test in real life situations. Each team presented their well-researched business analysis stating their objective, profits, expenses, and future plans for expansion. The judges were astonished with their high level of detail that was on par with university level presentations.
The Top Business Ideas
While each group was exceptional, the judges had to grade each on a number of technical criteria to narrow the teams down. The judging criteria included:
- Innovation and creativity
- Profit obtained
- Sustainable Business Practices
- Succession Plan
- Marketing through mass and social media
- Responses to judges questions
The national winners were Limitless Co (Socially Responsible Business) and The CITY (Socially Ethical Business). These two teams will be representing SAGE Canada in their respective categories in the upcoming SAGE World Cup taking place in Korea! They will no doubt represent Canada in the best light possible! There were also a number of different awards given to the other teams including Best Startup, Innovation Award, and Spirit Award.
Everyone involved in SAGE Nationals was extraordinary. From all the students, judges, sponsors, and event planners, the event was a success all around. SAGE is an incredible organization that lets high school students follow their business dreams. “The SAGE program is extremely important to myself and the entire team at MAKO Design + Invent. It isn’t an opportunity to potentially sell our services, but rather an opportunity to support students as they explore their entrepreneurial interests in a manner that gives back to their local communities. I personally feel remarkably invigorated and inspired every year as we see students go through the program and as they present themselves at the National Competition. We are fortunate to be an Industry Partner with SAGE Canada and we look forward to seeing the program build on the success thus far as it get’s larger and more students get involved!”, states V.P, Strategy, James Chalmers. MAKO is honoured to been a part of such an event and wishes nothing but the best for all the teams that participated. Good luck to the two teams representing Canada in Korea, you will all do great!
About Us: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to small businesses, startups, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry’s leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Feel free to Contact Us anytime for help with your project.