Student Innovators Receive First Minister’s Entrepreneurship Award of Excellence

Nova Scotia students earned an Entrepreneurship Award of Excellence for their innovative business ideas during an awards ceremony, Wednesday, April 25, at Saint Mary’s University Sobey School of Business.

Nine finalists competed for an award, by pitching their business ideas, Dragon’s Den style, to a panel of five judges from the business and education communities.

“Each of the nine finalists demonstrated strong entrepreneurial skills and spirit,” said Zach Churchill, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. “Having an entrepreneurial mindset is a key component of building a stronger economy and future for Nova Scotia.

“I want to congratulate the winners, along with all the participants and their teachers. I’m very excited to see their ideas transform into reality.”

The province, in partnership with the Business Education Council, invited students from grades six to 12 to submit their business ideas for the award.

This was the first year for the event which featured cash prizes in three categories: social enterprise, technology and innovation/creativity. Each winner received $1,000 to help turn their ideas into reality, along with a mentorship with a member of the business community.

The winners for this year’s award are:
— Social Enterprise – Beaver Sticks, Leilia Fraser and Angus Fraser, Halifax Central Junior High
— Technology – Lay’ Em Down!, Layla Owens and Emily Baker, École secondaire du Sommet, Halifax
— Innovation/ Creativity – Pawmem, Alice Song, Citadel High School, Halifax

“Our students are learning that entrepreneurship is more than a job option or career,” said Sean Kent, teacher at Eastern Shore District High School, Musquodoboit Harbour, Halifax Regional Municipality. “It really represents a shift in thinking, behaviour and lifestyle that can be applied across all jobs and careers.”

The Business Education Council was established in 2015 to create a relationship between government and business leaders. The goal of the council is to provide more positive and productive career opportunities for students.

“Entrepreneurship and innovation is key to the future of Nova Scotia and these students demonstrated they are prepared to shape that future,” said Cal Gosse, chair of the council. “The connections made between academic skills and real business opportunities were inspirational, further reinforcing the importance of creating mentorship opportunities between the business community and students.

“The council thanks all students who submitted proposals and congratulates our winners.”

Through the public school curriculum, students from grades six to 12 are provided opportunities to learn about business and explore entrepreneurship.

For more information about the Minister’s Entrepreneurship Award of Excellence, go to