Paperback Events and Consulting crowned Startup Ottawa Valley Pitch Night winner
Paperback Events and Consulting was the winning business at the inaugural Startup Ottawa Valley Pitch Night on June 1 at Algonquin College. In photo (from left) are Startup Ottawa Valley champion Anthony Seed, Paperback Events and Consulting co-founder Katie Tollis-Flabbi, Paperback co-founder Jessica Khouri and Algonquin College manager of student and community affairs Jamie Bramburger.
Paperback Events and Consulting was crowned the winner at the inaugural Startup Ottawa Valley Pitch Night at Algonquin College on June 1.
Founded in 2016, as a member of Startup Canada, Startup Ottawa Valley serves to foster start-ups, connect founders and support the local business community through various events in and around the Ottawa Valley.
“I brought Startup Ottawa Valley to the community because I think that we’re missing some supports for entrepreneurs in this area, and Startup Ottawa Valley is a great way to engage the business community,” said Chris Dore, Algonquin College business professor and entrepreneur in residence. “I just think entrepreneurship is meaningful work and if these people are successful in their businesses, then they can potentially create wealth for others in regards to jobs and creating an environment where people want to live in the Ottawa Valley and stay here as well.”
Startup Ottawa Valley’s Pitch Night was a Dragon’s Den-style business competition, sponsored by TruShield Insurance and Startup Canada, that saw Paperback Events and Consulting compete against five other Ottawa Valley businesses to be crowned this year’s ultimate startup company in the Valley.
Paperback Events and Consulting, a company led by co-founders Jessica Khouri and Katie Tollis-Flabbi, pitched their new entrepreneurial idea of Milspouse Collective. Not only an idea, but a strong passion of theirs, Milspouse Collective would serve as a large professional conference that would unite and empower military spouses who are looking to enter the business world.
“There are over 61,000 military spouses across Canada and it has been cited that both lack of mobility and lack of employment opportunities are two of the biggest challenges that the military spouse community faces. For example, only 46 per cent of military spouses have full-time employment – which is a significant drop from the national average – and with this conference we're hoping to raise that up,” said Khouri. “So the Milspouse Collective is a conference that targets the military spouse population to provide them with skills, knowledge and confidence to start their own businesses or grow their own businesses. This will be a singular, modern full-day conference that will unite the military spouse population and help them to begin their entrepreneurial journey or up their entrepreneurial game. With a little hardwork and a little Paperback flair we believe that the Milspouse Collective is a solution to this problem.”
The other competitors included Snark Bean, Lotus City Media, Womyn of the Woods Adventure Tours, Little Things Canning Company and IMPACT Wellness Solutions.
The budding teams of entrepreneurs pitched their innovate business idea for a chance to win the ultimate startup prize pack including a $1,000 cash prize, a feature in the Startup Canada eNewsletter, two free publishing credits on www.StartupNews.ca and one ticket to Startup Canada Day on the Hill.
Each team was allotted five minutes to present their pitch in front of the panel of five judges that included Mike Thompson, Glen McGillvrary, Meghan Sutherland, Dave Thompson and Chela Breckon.
After each pitch, the panel of judges put the contestants to the test with a barrage of questions to get a little bit more clarification of each candidate's business plan, to see what differentiates their idea from others and why it would be successful.
To determine the winner, the judges scored each team using a ten-point system covering the criteria of market and validation, problem and solution, business model and likelihood of success.
After a period of deliberation, the judges came to their final decision and it was announced that Paperback Events and Consulting were the Startup Ottawa Valley’s 2017 Pitch Night winners.
“We are extremely honoured to be a part of such a great entrepreneurial community here in the Ottawa Valley and the feedback we just received after our pitch was positive enough and rewarding. We’re both shocked and excited to have been chosen from such a talented panel of entrepreneurs,” said Tollis-Flabbi. “We’re looking forward to launching the conference in 2018 and we look forward to being able to innovate, inspire and educate military spouses.”