Dec 2 BoostR Stage YYC

6 local entrepreneurs battle it out, pitch style

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Elizabeth Anderson went first. She stood up on the stage at Calgary’s GRAND Theatre Junction and told an audience of more than 400 people how her wedding caused enough stress to trigger her struggle with schizophrenia.

Anderson shared her personal story to explain to a panel of four expert judges why her startup business, Being Mentally Healthy, would be both an economic and social success.

The judges were Wellington Holbrook, Executive Vice President, Business & Agriculture, ATB, Suzanne West, CEO of Imaginea Energy, Leor Rotchild, Consultant, and Jill Andres, Principal of Creating Value Inc.

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She and five other passionate entrepreneurs pitched their startups to the audience Wednesday night at the BoostR Stage YYC event, hoping to win $1,000 from the judges and up to $8,000 from the audience, all financed by ATB Financial. But unlike previous BoostR stage events, this one aimed to support businesses that have a social benefit.

Through Being Mentally Healthy, Anderson plans to sell adult colouring books that teach the “ABCs” of mental health—the idea being that while people colour in intricately designed letters of the alphabet, they read about mental health issues and solutions.

The audience also heard from some other health-related businesses, like Awaken Holistic, a business that aims to support alternative medicine professionals with a common space and administrative help. Mindful Mental Training pitched their idea to provide businesses and organizations with mindfulness training to help support employee mental health.

Bundles of Hope plans employ refugee mothers in making baby blankets, and YYC Tool Library talked about their tool rental service and community space. Alberta Impact Fund presented a plan to raise capital and fund small businesses that measure economic success, as well as environmental and social.

The winner of the $1,000 award from the panel of judges was Mindful Mental Training. The judges cited the strong demand for this type of service as a primary reason for their choice, but also noted the presenter’s passion and dedication to the startup. Derek Luk, the founder of the business and a registered nurse, plans to quit his University of Calgary teaching job to pursue his business full time.

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The next BoostR Stage event is scheduled for March 23 at NAIT campus in Edmonton.