Conestoga news

November 1, 2021 7:05 AM

Conestoga entrepreneurs compete at annual pitch competition

On October 28, Conestoga graduates Urim Aliu, Stephen McCabe and Patrick Wilken, the team behind the mobile app KWKLY, finished first place with a $5,000 prize at the college’s Pitch Day competition. The annual event was hosted by the Conestoga Entrepreneurship Collective (CEC) through a virtual platform to showcase the best entrepreneurs with pre-seed start-ups in Conestoga’s Venture Lab. 

Conestoga College - KWKLY - 2021.jpe
Conestoga graduates Patrick Wilken, Stephen McCabe and Urim Aliu, the team behind the mobile app KWKLY, finished the college’s Pitch Day competition in first place with a $5,000 prize.

“We have come from all corners of the community to celebrate the spirit of entrepreneurship at Conestoga and in the community, to celebrate the hard work of all the start-ups that entered the competition and to celebrate the outstanding efforts of the three companies that will be pitching live for the top spot this evening,” said Rose Mastnak, CEC director, as she welcomed guests to the competition.

The Wilf Rieck Pitch Day @ Conestoga was held during the CEC festival - a one-week virtual event that provided opportunities to learn more about the labs and programs hosted through the collective as well as celebrate the entrepreneurs in the Conestoga community.

Competition finalists were each given five minutes to pitch their original business ideas before taking questions from a judging panel that included local business leaders Rena Hawkins, Roger Mann and Jim McPherson.

Conestoga graduates Aliu, McCabe and Wilken pitched KWKLY - an app that can be used to order fast, affordable home delivery of everyday household essentials, including snacks, personal care items and home cleaning tools. The app has been live since September with service in Kitchener-Waterloo, and the team plans to expand into the Greater Toronto Area and scale across the country in 2023 and beyond.

Lea Belo, a final-year Packaging Engineering Technician student, pitched Repulp - a start-up that produces recyclable kraft bubble mailers. She finished in second place with a $2,000 prize.

Bubblenia finished third with a $1,000 prize. The virtual learning tool to help children develop Chinese language skills was pitched by Computer Application Development graduate certificate student Shuwen Tan.

With the support of the Preston Hespeler Rotary Club, Pitch Day @ Conestoga is sponsored through the generosity of Cambridge entrepreneur Wilf Rieck who passed away in June 2020. Rieck’s wife Anna attended the event.

“We are grateful that Wilf knew of this program before his passing. This is part of his legacy and it’s an honour to participate on his behalf. This program is exactly what he wanted. He was a lifelong entrepreneur who gave to his community. Wilf would have been a strong supporter for each of you, but he wouldn’t have shied away from asking you some tough questions. Best wishes to the winners and all the participants. We wish you success as you embark on your ventures.”

The Conestoga Entrepreneurship Collective empowers and inspires students and alumni to successfully participate in the Waterloo Region entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem by providing multiple pathways for engagement that include developing a new business, becoming a corporate innovator and providing support systems to the ecosystem.

The CEC’s Venture Lab is designed to support the development of early-stage start-ups through one-on-one coaching, access to industry mentors as well as college and community new venture development resources, and participation in workshops and targeted sessions with subject matter experts. Applications for the Venture Lab's next cohort close December 2.