The Paul and Tom Kinnear New Venture Competition

In 2008, the Paul and Tom Kinnear New Venture Competition was established at Smith School of Business to support entrepreneurship among Commerce students. The Kinnear New Venture Competition is open to all Smith undergraduate students who either have an ongoing company or are in the process of establishing a venture. The top team will be awarded $10k that can be used towards creating or ongoing operations of the business.

Looking to compete?

To enter, at least one of the team members must be the founder/co-founder and enrolled in the Smith Commerce program. No exceptions. Entrepreneurs will have six minutes to pitch to a panel of expert judges on why they deserve $10K in funding. Your business should be well beyond the ideation phase, approaching or beyond the MVP stage and gaining market traction (customers/revenue). See application guidelines for full details.

Event date

Thursday, April 6, 2023
2-4pm EST
Virtual Arena (Zoom)

Key dates & deadlines

Task Date
Applications Open Wed, Feb 22
Applications Close Fri, Mar 24 @ Noon EST
Pre-Screening Judges Deliberations Fri, Mar 24 - Sun, Apr 2
Finalists Announced Mon, Apr 3
Finals Event * Thu, Apr 6, 2-4pm EST

*due to the number of entries, only the finalist will be informed they are moving forward

Criteria to submit

  • Your venture should be in the start-up stage (well beyond ideation)
  • A clear explanation of the product or service and the pain point/problem you are solving that answers the ‘so what.’ - build the emotional attachment to ‘why should we care?” and ‘how will this make life better for the target market?’
  • A clear explanation of the product or service and the pain point you are solving
  • The opportunity and solution (i.e. why is now the right time for this business)
  • Proven research and market validation, including a strong understanding of the total addressable (TAM) /service available (SAM)/serviceable obtainable market (SOM)
  • Your target market (i.e. size, structure, archetype)
  • Your competitive advantage(s)
  • CRITICAL - The economics of the business – e.g. business model, revenue model (pricing strategy), COGS, profit margins etc
  • The value proposition of your team
  • The ask!! Why are you pitching to the judges,, will you use money, and what value will it add?
  • Sources of funding – how are you funding the business now, and show any additional finances raised

Guidelines and templates

Please read through the guidelines carefully

  Guidelines and Criteria

  Lean Canvas Model

Past winners

2022 Winner


Nikola Cugalj (BCom‘22)

EcoPod designs and builds four-season backyard studios that can be used as home offices, workout spaces, and music studios. The Ottawa-based company currently offers three customizable models, and another two are coming soon.


  • Chaordinem Consulting
    Calin Ranger (BCom’22), Kitchener Pickford, Johan
  • Sew Brew
    Abby Brewer (BCom’24)
  • Pally
    Jay Lee (BCom’22)

2021 Winner

Footy Five

Jovan Novakovic (BCom‘21)

Footy Five offers competitive youth soccer clubs, academies and organizations that want to increase technical/tactical player training time outside the collective team setting while avoiding astronomical field rental expenses. Footy Five has developed a user-friendly, digital platform and application for players to pursue individual/small group training outside of collective team training sessions.


  • Brieft
    Christian Curelea (BCom’21), Kitchener Pickford, Johan
  • SHINE Strength and Confidence Inc.
    Jessica Takimoto (BCom’21)

2020 Winner


Vinson Lee (Queen’s, Commerce ‘20), Matthew Mastromarco (Queen’s, Commerce ‘20), Aaron Cotter (University of Waterloo, Software Engineering ’20), David Tsenter (University of Waterloo, Software Engineering ’20), Spencer Dobrik (University of Waterloo, Software Engineering ’20), Ryan Wang (University of Waterloo, Software Engineering ’20)

Traktab closes the loop on medication adherence by connecting seniors to their loved ones through a smart pillbox. Each compartment of the pillbox features an invisible sensor that detects when the pill has been removed so that the adherence information can be logged. This enables families to monitor adherence remotely through an iPhone or Apple Watch app, updated in real-time by actual pillbox usage. For concerned loved ones living busy lives, Traktab offers peace of mind — our core value proposition.


  • Bloom Botanica
    James Edwardson (Queen’s, Commerce ’20)
  • Mistral Spirit
    Iona Pihu (Queen’s, Commerce ‘22)
  • The Positivity Project
    Aaliyan Khan (Queen’s, Commerce ’22), Claire Mikuska (Queen’s, Commerce ’22), Emilie Leneveu (Memorial University, Technology ’20), Emily Tiessen (Queen’s, Commerce ’22), Grace McColl (Queen’s, Commerce ’22), Randy Shao (Queen's, Computer Science ’22), Zion Oginni (Queen's, Computer Science ’22)

2019 Winner

Cleen Detailing Inc.

Sawyer Wildgen (Smith Commerce '19)

Cleen Detailing is a mobile car detailing company that comes to you. Cleen allows you to book online in under two minutes, and have a friendly Detailing Expert show up at your home or place of work to clean your vehicle.


  • Lunar
    Sam Shore (Smith Commerce ‘20), Copeland Lucas (Smith Commerce ’20), Connor Crowe (Queen’s, Computer Engineering ’20)
  • SitterNextDoor Inc.
    Jenny Hua (Smith Commerce ‘22), Andrea Herscovich (University of Ottawa, Computer Science ’22), Jenny Shen (Carleton University, Computer Science ’22)
  • The Positivity Project
    Aaliyan Khan (Smith Commerce ’22), Claire Mikuska (Smith Commerce ’22), Emilie Leneveu (Memorial University, Technology ’20), Grace McColl (Smith Commerce ’22), Lily Irwin (Queen's, Arts and Science, ’22), Randy Shao (Queen's, Computer Science ’22), Zion Oginni (Queen's, Computer Science ’22), Matt Joyce (Smith Commerce ’22)

2018 Winner

Dream Again

Ushpreet Mehta (Queen’s, Commerce ‘19), Florian Ntibarigobeka (Queen’s, Computer Science ’17), Emily Gervais (Queen’s, Chemical Engineering ’18), Henry Von Schroeter (Queen’s, Chemical Engineering ’17) and Matthew Bell (Western University, Business ’17)

Dream Again produces custom-fitted CPAP masks for the treatment of sleep apnea that are perfectly fitted to an individual’s unique facial structure. This makes our masks to be truly comfortable and leak-free, which allows sleep apnea sufferers to actually get the good night sleep that they so desperately need.


  • Bitscreen
    Jenny Kim (Queen’s, Commerce ’18), Emily Xu (University of Toronto, Engineering ‘19), Jose Herrera (University of Calgary Software, Engineering ’17), Matthew Anderson (University of Lethbridge, Business ’18)
  • Lukabox
    Vinson Lee (Queen’s, Commerce ‘20), Matthew Mastromarco (Queen’s, Commerce ‘20), Aaron Cotter (University of Waterloo, Software Engineering ’20), Robert McGibbon (University of New Brunswick, Engineering ’19), Billy O’Connor (University of New Brunswick, Engineering ’20)
  • Student Property Services
    Chris Mackey (Queen’s, Commerce ’19), Wesley Mann (Queen’s, Economics ’19)

2017 Winner


Hyla Nayeri (Queen’s Commerce ’17), Adrien Bettio (Queen’s Commerce ’17)

437 SWIMWEAR is an ecommerce retailer specializing in women’s swimwear. 437 strives to produce simple, minimalistic, and universally flattering designs which showcase a woman’s body in the best possible way. The line is perfect for the carefree, confident girl who loves minimalistic style. Founded by Hyla Nayeri and Adrien Bettio, two fourth-year Smith School of Business students with experiences from small fashion start-ups to large brands such as Hugo Boss and Nike, the founder duo is out to bring minimalistic and curve-hugging swimwear to the masses.

View website


  • Educhain
    Mark Balovnev (Queen’s Commerce ‘18)
  • EmptyPlate
    Leanna Li (Queen’s Commerce ‘18), Eddie Wang (Schulich School of Business Commerce ’18)
  • Iris Technologies
    Colin Harding (Queen’s Commerce ’17), Conor Ross (Queen’s Applied Science ’16)

2016 Winner


Maggie Shi (Queen’s Commerce ‘18)

Bnto is a curated, limited-daily-option, subscription-based lunch delivery service based on the web aimed at bringing delicious, hot food from local partnered restaurants to campus-settings with limited food options. In other words, bnto is a “hot lunch order” for the modern student/worker.


  • Iris Technologies
    Colin Harding (Queen’s Commerce ’17), Conor Ross (Queen’s Applied Science ’16), David Cashin (Queen’s Computer Science ’16)
  • Lumos Energy Strips
    Heather Wilcocks-Gynn (Queen’s Commerce ’17), Chris Angelatos (Queen’s Engineering ’16), Lexi Kaplin (Queen’s Engineering ’16), Peter Lyons (Queen’s Engineering ’16)
  • Spreza Technologies
    Heather Evans (Queen’s Commerce ’16), Daniel Lloyd (Queen’s Engineering ’16)

2015 Winner

Lloyd & Company Bespoke Tailoring

Lloyd Talon (Queen’s Commerce ’15)

Lloyd & Company Bespoke Tailoring offers custom made suits and shirts through three brick-and-mortar retail facilities in Toronto and Ottawa. Founded by Talon Lloyd (BComm 2015), the company has been in operation since May, 2013 and has delivered garments to over 500 customers. Now in a stage of expansion, Talon is looking to replicate the brand's success in the larger US market!


  • Brockington Group Inc.
    Amit Kumar (Queen’s Commerce ’17), Alex Cracium (Queen’s Commerce ’17) and Xiao Winker (Queen’s Commerce ‘17)
    Vladimir Bogdashkin (Queen’s Commerce ’15), Claudia Hidou (Queen’s MIB ’15), Chris Kim (Queen’s Commerce ’16) and Evan Marsland (Queen’s Computer Engineering ‘16)
    Logan Houston (Queen’s Commerce ’15)

2014 Winner

PrepMe (formerly nPulse)

Jawwad Siddiqui (Queen’s Commerce ’15) and Amin Nikdel (Queen’s Computing ’14)

Professors at numerous universities currently do not have a way of evaluating if students “get it or not?” Currently, professors depend on the gut and intuition to design and deliver in-class lectures and discussions. They do not get analytics or “finger on the pulse” about their students to aid with their teaching. PrepMe is here to solve that problem, with its powerful analytics!


  • Blu Root
    Massimo Ianniruberto (Queen’s Commerce ’14)
  • Journal Prep
    Kyle Maloney (Queen’s Commerce ’14)
  • Pop
    Thomas Lee (Queen’s Commerce ’14), Alessia Vettese (Queen’s Commerce ’14) and Khalid Karim (UBC ’13)

2013 Winner

KRG Racing

KRG Racing is a paddling equipment company that engineers, manufactures, and markets high performance products to help flat-water paddlers of all levels excel in their sport. Whether it's winning the Olympics or a local regatta, our commitment is to develop athlete-tested products that are unlike anything currently available and deliver consistent performance under the most rigorous demands. By employing innovative avant-garde technologies KRG Racing is able to offer noticeable performance benefits for every athlete.

View Facebook page


  • Encore
    Nicholas Klimchuk, Smith Commerce 2013; Michael Warshafsky, Queen's Biology 2015; Steven Heidel; University of Saskatchewan, Computer Science 2014
  • Moja Labs
    Kurtis Hodge, Queen’s Commerce 2013; Irfan Sharif, Queen’s Commerce 2013; Mike Robinson, Queen’s Applied Science 2013; Isabel Barrera, Queen’s Biochemistry 2012
  • Student Jobs Everywhere
    Logan Houston, Queen’s Commerce 2014

2012 Winner

Penyo Pal

Jane Wu, Smith Commerce 2012; Jessica Fan, Simon Fraser University, Business & Design 2012; Rafal Dittwald, University of Toronto Engineering 2012; Ryan Wagner, University of Waterloo Engineering 2012

Penyo Pal is an innovative learning company for children and their adults. We build interactive stories and games that help kids ages 4-7 learn to read in English, Mandarin and French. We are grateful to have been awarded the titles of "Canada's Top 20 Hottest Innovative Startups" by the CIX, "Canada's Top 108 Startups" by Mark Evans, and the "Best Overall New Startup" from the Launch EDU conference in the Silicon Valley.

View website


  • Percept
    Brandon MacKenzie, Smith Commerce & Queen's Computer Science 2012; Nate Braniff, Queen's Computer Science 2012; Mark Giovinazzo, Queen's Mechanical Engineering & Computer Science 2012
  • InSourced
    Matei Olaru, Smith Commerce 2012; James Picanco, Smith Commerce 2012
  • Appys
    Seth Rosenberg, Smith Commerce 2012; Kieran Lafferty, Queen's Engineering 2012; Jessica Kot, Queen's Computer Science 2012; Katricia Barleta, Queen's Computer Science 2012

2011 Winner

OOHLALA Mobile, Inc.

Jake Housdon, Comm '14, Peter Cen, University of Toronto MA '12, James Dang, University of Toronto '12, Danial Jameel, University of Toronto '11, & Amsul Naeem, Ryerson University '12

Our mission is simple, to create a global mobile platform (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, others coming soon) that helps students navigate their student and social life. Since our launch just eight weeks ago (Toronto, Montreal) we have brought on board 120+ merchants/venues ranging from popular brands such as the Hard Rock Cafe, Sunrise Records, Place des Arts (Montreal), to major universities such as the University of Toronto and McGill.

OOHLALA is the must have app for student life and provides location-based deals, coupons, guest-lists and events to students. We want to do this while changing the destructive methods of traditional advertising (flyers, paper coupons, spamming etc.)


  • Journal Prep
    Kyle Maloney, Comm '14 & Shawn Maloney, McGill University PhD '11
  • Notewagon
    Karen Chan, Comm '10 / Life Sciences '11, Saif Altimimi, Guelph University '13, Joshua Marchon, University of Waterloo '11, Khaled Hashem, University of Toronto'13; & Gabriel Chan, University of Waterloo '08
  • Profile University
    Ben Richards Comm '11 & Jason Liu, Comm '11

2010 Winner

Ahmad Iqbal, Comm '10 & Chris Carmichael, Wilfred Laurier University '10

At we recognized that the promotional product industry is slow to innovate and employs too many middle men. is a multi-manufacturer direct lanyard supplier to schools, conferences, companies and all sorts of other events. However, there is a gap in the conferences market which we aim to fill. We will soon be providing conferences, trade shows, and exhibitions the capability to allow their attendees to customize their name badge and have them pre-packed in the lanyards and ready to go. This will allow the attendees to upload pictures, contact information, company title and any other information they would like on their name badge. Our offering will increase security, streamline sign-in, save our clients the time and money they would have to otherwise spend making name badges.

In addition to this we have developed a USB flash drive embedded lanyard buckle which can come pre-loaded with any files the conference will want their attendees to have. Brochures, catalogues, itineraries, and any other information will no longer need to be printed. Currently we are also developing QR code scanning applications to allow seamless networking at conferences allowing attendees to share information digitally through their name badges.


  • Thinkpanda
    Karen K.W. Chan Comm '10 / Life Sciences '10, Lucas Lu, Wilfred Laurier '11, Gabriel Chan, University of Waterloo '10, Fahd Butt, University of Waterloo '10 & Matthew Chan, University of Waterloo '10
  • Lawn in Order
    Cord McGee, Comm '13 & Ryan Peterson, Comm '13
    Jennifer Turliuk, Comm '10 & William Crock, University of Western Australia

2009 Winner

Campus Connect

Ian Macdonald, Comm '09 & David Phillips, Comm '09 / ArtSci '09

Campus Connect merged two successful student marketing enterprises (Samples For Students and Campus Kings) together to help national brands and local businesses better connect and establish meaningful relationships with Canadian students. Campus Connect combined sampling at the beginning of the year with school long communication on its website to create meaningful relationships between brands and Canadian students. Samples For Students created, packaged and delivered a turn-key sampling program for 20 of Canada's biggest brands (Mars, Harvey's, Coca-Cola, Via Rail, Lacoste, Smashbox etc.). Brands were able to connect with students on the first day of school via a Campus Pack. Campus Packs featured samples and bounce-back retail offers to drive exceptional student follow-up purchases after trial.

In just its first year, the program delivered over $1 million in products to 10,000 students across seven universities in Ontario. Samples For Students was born out of Summer Company, a Government of Ontario entrepreneurship grant and coaching program. Campus Kings enabled brands and local business to speak to students online via a local web community. Campus Kings enabled students to share and download study materials as well as to view local business profiles in their community to better orient themselves while at university.


  • Dog-On-Geese (D-O-G)
    Daniel McCann, Comm '11
  • Headline Delivery Service Inc.
    Seth Rosenberg, Comm '11 & Daniel Asper, UWO '12
  • Luxury Tee
    Christ-inn Hau, Comm '11, Carson Leung, University of Toronto '10, Betty Vuong, Ryerson University '12