Ontario tackles youth unemployment with ‘Make Your Pitch’ competition

Make Your Pitch competition overview - video by OceDiscovery

In 2013, the unemployment rate for Ontario youth aged 15-24 fluctuated between 16% and 17.1%, making youth unemployment a serious issue. To address this, the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development Trade and Employment launched the ‘Young Entrepreneurs, Make Your Pitch’ competition on February 3rd as part of its $295 million Youth Jobs Strategy to create employment opportunities for 30,000 youth.

The competition aims to inspire students in grades 9 through 12 across six high school regions in Ontario about becoming successful entrepreneurs. All it takes to enter is a two-minute video pitch that explains the business idea and the problems it helps solve, with a mention of target customers and plans for selling the product or service. Students can submit their videos either individually or as a group of no more than four members by March 28th, 2014.

As a prize, 18 finalists will get to present their ideas to a judging panel at the Discovery Conference in May, while also receiving business coaching and mentoring along the way. The six final winners, selected through a combination of online voting and judges’ scores, will get a reserved entry into the Summer Company program, which includes a potential grant of up to $3,000 to help launch a business, paired with additional consultation and mentorship, according to the February 3 news release.

Michele Romanow, co-founder of Buytopia

With constant advances in digital technology like more mobile devices and apps, there’s never been a better time to become an entrepreneur. And Canadian tech entrepreneurs like Michele Romanow, co-founder of a popular daily deal site Buytopia.ca, stand to prove it. All you need is a computer, dedication and hard work to take your business from idea to reality.

But overnight success doesn’t happen often, since very few people have all the skills needed to develop a solid business plan to secure funding for their business. That’s why business coaching, mentorship and consultation – provided by the Make Your Pitch program – are incredibly important to kick-start a business.

So, whether you have a vision for how to make Ontario greener, a new way to use tech to solve people’s daily problems or any other hot service or product idea that will change how people live, work and play - make your pitch to build a successful future for yourself and create more jobs for our economy.

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