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Can You Become a Successful Student-preneur?



Most of us have either seen or heard of popular TV series, Dragon’s Den, where hopeful entrepreneur’s stand before a panel of venture capitalists to pitch their ideas, in the hopes that they may secure financial investing for their startups.

While not all of us can be guaranteed a spot on the show, on a much smaller scale, venture capitalists, angel investors and others around the world look for opportunities to help entrepreneurs grow and develop their businesses.

More universities and colleges have incorporated entrepreneurial education into their curriculum to promote the undertaking of starting your own company. Mount Royal University’s (MRU) Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship recently had their annual JMH $70,000 LaunchPad Pitch Competition.

Founded to support those MRU students who are ambitious enough to pursue their own ventures, the initiative is funded largely by donations from JMH&CO. According to the website, over the past five years alone, there has been a total of $250,000 donated to support the program.

For this year’s competition, JMH&CO. put forth $40,000 along with $10,000 each from LaBarge Weinstein, Trout + Taylor and the Busy Foundation. Six students had the opportunity to win up to $70,000 for their endeavour should they impress the judging panel, which consisted people of note, including Alice Reimer, serial entrepreneur, Andrew Browne, co-founder and CEO of TikTiks, and Patrick Lor, serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist.

After hours preparing, each student went up and put forth their best pitch and showcase to sway the crowd. For a further look into the speakers and their companies, click on their profile links below:


Lobo Development Ltd.


Connor’s Carwash


The sixth, and final company, CommunityKit, did not provide us with any additional information, and therefore were unable to be featured.

MRU put on a great showcase of their students and what the Institute has to offer for future entrepreneurs. Yes, the odds are generally stacked against most startups, but with universities like MRU trying to create an environment for growth, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Congrats to all the winners and we wish all the success to those brave enough to pursue their ambitions.

unsplash-logoJordan Encarnacao

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The Top 5 Fitness Exhibitors at YYCfit



The Health & Fitness Expo was in town this weekend, and we had an opportunity to check out some of 2018’s newest and coolest exhibits that local fitness pros had to offer.

OB Organic’s

An online based High Performance Food Menu, OB Organic’s is “a specialty food manufacturer dedicated to providing high quality solutions for athletes on the go, who wish to combine their performance needs with enjoyable eating.

With nationwide shipping, customers are able to select from a variety of different flavours of Paleo Protein Chocolate Cups and Protein Paleo Donuts.

According to their website,

“[Their] products are made with carefully sourced ingredients, and are free from the usual sugars and artificial substances that come with most snack foods.  The end result is a delicious, low glycemic snack, packed with healthy fats and high quality protein.”


A combination of ballet and fitness, owner Sarah Stewart has taken her illustrious dancing background to bring to Calgary a new and fun way to burn those calories.

With no previous dance experience required, anyone can follow along to a step by step breakdown of fundamentals and get in a good workout at the same time.

Set to the latest up-beat pop music, this unique ballet-inspired fitness class will help build, define and tone long, lean muscles.”

The new Spring session schedule is now available for sign up, and your first class to attend is free!

Strike Combat Archery

What is Combat Archery you ask? Well according to the website you “[t]ake all of the adrenaline-pumping excitement of paintball, mix it with the charm of being Legolas or Catnis and remove the overwhelming pain.

Great for team-building, corporate or private events, Combat Archery is the perfect way to unleash all that pent up steam against your coworkers, in a completely nonlethal way.

Fully mobile, Combat Archery can either come to you, or set up a space for you to bring your friends, where you can enjoy a day of taking each other out without any consequences. Go to their website to book an event for you and your party.


Calgary’s first bouldering specific climbing centre, Bolder is the perfect place for climbers of any skill level to check out. Open 7 days a week, the centre offers 5300sqft of bouldering terrain, a separate training area, a multipurpose mezzanine, and a cafe.

Bolder also offers different workshops and programs which you can check out on their website, and as an added bonus, any climbers that go in before 1 pm on weekdays only have to pay $10!

The Beach YYC

It’s hard to be a fan of beach volleyball when you are a resident of Calgary. Opening summer of 2018, The Beach YYC will be Calgary’s only indoor beach volleyball facility.

According to their pamphlet the centre will be based in the community of Ramsay and will offer the following:

  • Year-round beach volleyball leagues and tournaments
  • Ultimate frisbee leagues and drop-in times
  • Yoga
  • Rental space (meetings, team building, social events)

For more information about the recreation facility and their upcoming opening day, check out their official website.

unsplash-logoGeert Pieters

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Why You Should Become a Cannabis Entrepreneur



The long wait will soon be over, Canada is looking to officially make marijuana legal across the nation this summer. For those of you who have been following the media coverage surrounding the current landscape of this process, this isn’t news, and now it’s only a matter of counting down the days. Cannabis consumers are eagerly awaiting to finally partake in recreational marijuana LEGALLY, and producers are preparing themselves to capitalize on this great market opportunity.

Talks of legalization have been rampant in Canada since the liberal government took control. It’s no secret that the consumption of cannabis, in whichever form, has been taking place for many years all across the globe. Government regulation of it however, has not. The purchase and sale of weed takes place regardless of any legal intervention, but it seems North America is finally moving towards accepting and approving of a regulated process.

Amsterdam’s Coffeeshops are notorious for allowing customers to purchase what they consider ‘soft drugs’, marijuana being a key point of sale. Restrictions on the sale of both ‘hard drugs‘ (cocaine, LSD, morphine, heroin, etc.) and soft drugs outside of Coffeeshops, are implemented by authorities where they try to maintain certain mandates surrounding purchasing and sales. For years this has been a common practice in the city and many would argue that the stigma surrounding the usage of weed has greatly diminished due to the lack of restriction.

Currently in America, nine states and Washington, DC have legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes, and a total of 29 states allow marijuana for medicinal purposes. Despite the initial reluctance, a recent poll from Gallop showcases a significant increase in support of legalization. From 1969 to 2017, we went from 16% in favour to now 64% of the American population. As public opinion continues to support rather than criminalize the use of recreational cannabis, it’s no surprise that more states, and even countries are leaning towards allowing some form of regulation.

But why the initial hesitation? Well many citizens worry that with the authorization of recreational use, there will be the potential for it be misused and result in more people wanting to partake. With the new market available, the potential for new companies and entrepreneurs to capitalize on the opportunity to push their product is high. Aggressive selling and campaigning ‘pro-pot’ stands to increase the awareness and draw towards utilizing weed for non-medicinal purposes.

However, we also know that the prohibition of weed also hasn’t caused a decrease in it’s use. Implementing some form of regulation allows for better quality and safer cannabis consumption, and creates a market where profit potential can impact both public and private sectors.

As Canada moves towards making the big announcement, on July 1st 2018, companies are readying themselves for the onrush that will follow.

HYPR Magazine’s Conrad Yeung had the chance to interview Sonny Mottahed, President and CEO of MacaVerde. A company owned by Target Capital Inc., MacaVerde is an accelerator program for early-stage cannabis startups.

MacaVerde believes that, “cannabis is the next investable market and represents a unique opportunity to capitalize on a new industry with already established demand.”

As the deadline of March 31st approaches for applicants to apply into the program, we wanted to gain a better understanding of what MacaVerde is looking for, and what the opportunity for success currently looks like in the pot market.

After witnessing what legalization of weed looked like in America, Mottahed spoke about the force that comes behind strong brands. Not unlike any other consumer product, people have certain loyalties to the brands that they like and want to purchase from. Upon set up in Canada, these companies will have the potential for international outreach and the underlying quality of the brand is key.

When asked about what qualities they will be looking for in order to pick from all the potential candidates, Mottahed emphasized three main factors: their understanding of the current market, the basic skill set they will be bringing forth and whether or not they possess the type of X factor needed to succeed.

Aside from basic forms of recreational usage, Mottahed shared that consumers may also choose to partake in the consumption of weed as a sleep aid, for bettering concentration, increasing creativity, meditative purposes or even to improve ones sex life.

Once you know what your consumers are after, you can cater your product to their needs and MacaVerde is looking for incumbents who understand that.

With the market potential ripe for the picking, now is the time for aspiring entrepreneurs to gather their wits about them and implement a solid plan of attack. The summer of 2018 is fast approaching and companies like MacaVerde are laying the groundwork for startups to succeed.

If chosen for their accelerator program, startups will get access to certain infrastructure, legal, commercial, strategic, marketing and related financial advice, and help with the overall development of a solid foundation upon which to move forward.

Intake into the program will not begin until April 20th and interested applicants have until the end of the month to apply.

With an influx of polls and data coming in across the country, citizens are making their opinions known in regards to this immense step forward by the federal government. Yes there are fears and doubts among us as we move towards legalizing cannabis, but with education and time, there is also the potential for the tide to turn in the opposite direction. As with the implementation of any change, there will always be two sides, however, after years spent trying to restrict it’s usage, it will be interesting to see how things will proceed forward after the sails have been set in a different direction.

unsplash-logoThought Catalog

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