LaunchPad pitch competition winners announced

The finalists in the LaunchPad competition pose with the judges March 22 at North Campus. Each finalist left with a portion of the $40,000 pot. Courtesy HumberLaunch

Casey Taylor
Biz/Tech Reporter

Winners have been announced for the 2014 LaunchPad competition.

The Dragon’s Den like pitch competition saw nine of 17 semi-finalists move on from a speed-pitch round to present their ideas to a panel of judges at Humber’s North Campus. Each walking away with a share of the $40,000 of available funding.

This year’s winners were announced March 22.

Craig Petten and Pablo Alvarez’s Aqua Greens won  $20,000 for their company, which uses aquaponic technology to sustainably produce food while maintaining competitive prices.

Tim O’Reilly’s Sound Still Productions took home $10,000 .

Sound Still’s services include audio recording, video production, post-production, composition and arrangement for film among other things, according to the company’s site.

O’Reilly said he’s been involved in the competition for the past two years and has gained much more than just seed money.

“I’m a trained musician so I know about playing gigs and booking gigs but in terms of launching a business, that wasn’t necessarily my area of expertise,” said O’Reilly.

He said talking his ideas over with the people from Humber Launch helped refine them and gave him more confidence.

“I’ve got nothing but good things to say about all the people at Humber Launch, it’s been amazing for me,” he said. “They’ve provided me with work opportunities, tons of workshops. I’ve been attending stuff with them for two years now and I’ve learned a ton.”

Other winners include Anthony Zambri’s Z-CON property maintenance company which received $4,000.

Zambri said Z-CON currently does landscaping in the summer and snow removal in the winter and plans to move into hydraseeding as well.

“The funds will be put towards buying equipment,” said Zambri. “I didn’t get enough to buy it directly out so I’m going to have to take a little bit of time and save up the remaining amount.”

Lindsay Branton and Brennon Lundy’s TrainMeFit also won funding from LaunchPad.

The company offers small group and in-home health focused training geared towards disease prevention and healthy aging.

“It was great, it was a really good time,” Lundy said of LaunchPad.

He said the practice pitch events were very helpful.

“You get to hear from these mentors, they give you their advice on what you should do with your company in terms of marketing strategy and things like that,” said Lundy. “We found a lot of them really useful.”

A complete list of winners can be found at humber.ca/humberlaunch.

HumberLaunch has a youtube page where trailers for each business can be viewed.

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