Entrepreneurs show and tell

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Driven, motivated and ­passionate are three words used to describe the entrepreneurs who participated in the Propel summer accelerator at Western University for the past four months.

Thursday, they showed off their stuff.

Eleven teams assembled at the university for the Propel demo day where they could demonstrate and pitch their products to investors and business mentors.

From quirky, scented candles to drinks that make cannabis oil taste better, these young entrepreneurs developed products from several sectors, many of which have been gaining attention already.

Johnson Nguyen, the founder of Mood & Co., a soy-wax scented candle company, had his candles featured in celebrity swag bags at the 2017 Teen Choice Awards.

He said he wanted to produce scented candles men and women felt comfortable buying and used quirky names such as Netwicks & Chill and Scent and the City.

“It was a lot of work and something super brand new for me,” Nguyen said. “But I think it’s going to be the start of something successful and I really enjoyed doing it.”

Ryan Bauer, Erik Lapointe and Michael Palumbo attracted many people to their table at the demo day with their product, Dynamix.

It is a powdered drink mix that emulsifies cannabis and essential oils in water and gets rid of the foul taste. Through the four-month program, they have been able to get their first product, a black-tea flavour, available for pre-orders on their website.

“We wanted to create an ancillary product that could grow with the (cannabis) industry but not have to deal with the regulations,” Bauer said. “The concept received a lot of validation in the (Ivey business) program and it just started snowballing from there.”

The Propel program — launched at Western in 2014 — has helped start successful businesses such as Booch Organic Kombucha in London, and Pascal Press, an on-the-go coffee press that has been featured on Dragons’ Den.

The program is incubator-based, allowing people to bounce ideas off each other and improve their start­ups through workshops and business guidance.

The program is not ­limited to Western students and has been growing with more than 75 teams applying to be part of it this year.

“Our program is really industry-­agnostic,” said Ian Haase, the ­director of entrepreneurship with Propel. “We have clothing, tech, social enterprises . . . It’s really such a broad group of entrepreneurs.”

Other products included clothing, phone apps and games, board games and healthful food ­delivery.

A full list of the start-ups can be found here: http://propel.uwo.ca/Incubator/2017_Cohort_­Announced.html



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