UPEI business start-up winners announced at the MacLauchlan Panther Pitch live competition

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Group photo of all MacLauchlan Panther Pitch live pitch winners with H. Wade MacLauchlan (representing the family of Harry W. MacLauchlan).
Group photo of all MacLauchlan Panther Pitch live pitch winners with H. Wade MacLauchlan (representing the family of Harry W. MacLauchlan).

On Wednesday, April 10, six UPEI student teams pitched their business concepts in front of a live audience for a share of $62,000 in prize money during the annual MacLauchlan Panther Pitch Competition. The competition for entrepreneurial undergraduate and graduate students is coordinated each year by UPEI’s Student Entrepreneurship Hub and is part of the Harry W. MacLauchlan Entrepreneurship Program.

“The MacLauchlan Panther Pitch has equipped students with entrepreneurial skills through workshops and mentorship that they can continue to use after graduation,” said Amy Andrews, manager of entrepreneurship at UPEI. “Each participant saw a problem they could solve and responded with innovative solutions. With the support of the MacLauchlan Family donation, these budding entrepreneurs are empowered to overcome barriers in the early stages of their ventures, setting them on a path towards success.”

Teams chosen to pitch in the final event earned significant public exposure for their start-up ideas and competed for a portion of the prize money, which is to be used to support their start-up venture.

The following are the winners:  

ToGo Services, $20,000 (Rosaline Antoun and Adiel Ngabo Rutabana)
ToGo is a mobile application utilizing location-based technology to facilitate easy access to a wide spectrum of service categories. The platform is intuitive and user-friendly, allowing residents to efficiently locate and engage local service providers. 

Pitch funding awarded = $15,000
Scalability Excellence Entrepreneurial Award (first place) = $2,000
Dynamic Pitch Delivery Pitching Award = $2,000
Best Financial Plan Entrepreneurial Award (second place) = $1,000

Breathe Clean Heat Pump Solutions, $14,500 (Ben McQuaid, Taylor Gallant, and Brett McQuaid)
Breathe Clean Heat Pump Solutions offers residential and commercial buildings across Prince Edward Island heat pump cleaning services at a flat rate regardless of location using a subscription-based model that allows customers to book appointments worry-free. Education on preventative maintenance of heat pumps will also be provided to clients to enable them to save money.

Pitch funding awarded = $8,500
Best Financial Plan Entrepreneurial Award (first place) = $2,000
Best Market Research Entrepreneurial Award (first place) = $2,000
Questionnaire Extraordinaire Pitching Award = $2,000

Digital Tech Care, $13,000 (Duy Nguyen, Hayden Pham, and Vitalis Nguyen)
Digital Tech Care provides a mobile application to ease the use of digital applications for seniors, technophobes, and people with cognitive impairments or neurodiversity. The application will allow users to easily access and navigate different features and resources and enhance digital interactions between the target users and their family members and caregivers. A second application is designed specifically for family members and caregivers to enable remote assistance to users of the first app.  

Pitch funding awarded = $10,000
Positive Impact Entrepreneurial Award (first place) = $2,000
Scalability Excellence Entrepreneurial Award (second place) = $1,000

Pastelle, $4,500 (D’Jannah Shaneece)
Pastelle is a motivational clothing line where your wardrobe becomes your personal cheerleader. Each garment features a slick design with a twist—motivational quotes elegantly embroidered on the inner sleeve as a personal reminder to you throughout the day. From uplifting affirmations to empowering mantras, the quotes are aimed to remind the wearer of the greatness that lies within themselves.

Pitch funding awarded = $2,500
Most Effective Slide Deck Pitching Award = $2,000

Duck Power Thermal Energy Storage, $3,500 (Riley Fitzpatrick, Adam MacKenzie, and Danny Collins)
Duck Power Thermal Energy Storage is developing a renewable energy storage solution for communities and municipalities through the use of thermal energy storage providing on-demand heat and power using natural renewable energy sources, while also providing water purification in the process. Their solution could serve as the backbone for developing microgrids and connection and disconnection from the grid as necessary for customers. 

Pitch funding awarded = $2,500
Most Innovative Venture Entrepreneurial Award (second place) = $1,000

Senior Services, $2,500 (Ben Bassett)
Senior Services’ mission is to help senior citizens of Prince Edward Island maintain their independence through assistance services with their errands. Their services can assist with anything from landscaping, dog walking, picking up groceries or prescriptions, or drives to and from appointments. Their aim is to provide a friendly, familiar face along with exemplary service.

Pitch funding awarded = $2,500

EyeQ Tech, $2,000 (Amara Sanchez, Luciana Davila, Elliot Fraser, and Brian MacDonald)
EyeQ Tech is creating a health-care device that, based on retinal scans of the user and using machine-learning algorithms, will be capable of monitoring physical symptoms in the comfort of their own home. The device will provide a comprehensive examination of the eye to determine the conditions of the user and can provide early warnings to potential health situations.

Most Innovative Venture Entrepreneurial Award (first place) = $2,000

Truly Motivated, $1,000 (Jean-Grace Kifwabala)
Truly Motivated is a unique clothing brand offering stylish apparel and accessories committed to destigmatizing mental health and spreading positivity and self-acceptance through fashion. Their products include shirts, hoodies, shorts, tote bags, and wall art, all with a unique motivational quote affixed.

Best Market Research Entrepreneurial Award (second place) = $1,000

Collabrix AI, $1,000 (Kevin Henry)
Collabrix AI aims to offer startups and small to medium-sized enterprises with a cost-effective, adaptable solution to the talent pool of students seeking tangible project experience. This platform will enable students to access hands-on project work while businesses receive solutions to their problems based on theoretical foundations. 

Positive Impact Entrepreneurial Award (second place) = $1,000

“We're absolutely thrilled to be recognised by the Harry W. MacLauchlan Entrepreneurship Program for our innovative application,” said Rosaline Antoun and Adiel Rutabana of ToGo Services. “This generous prize money will catalyse our mission to revolutionise the service industry on Prince Edward Island. Our application serves as a bridge, connecting local service providers with Island residents and fostering a thriving community economy. This win is not just for us, but for every small business, individual service provider, and service seeker who will benefit from the enhanced visibility, operational efficiency, and accessibility that ToGo Services offers. With this support, we are positioned to expand our reach, fine-tune our technology, and enhance user experience to ensure that reliable and affordable services are just a tap away. As we celebrate this milestone, we're gearing up for a transformative year ahead where our application will become a cornerstone of everyday convenience and community resilience.”

The Harry W. MacLauchlan Entrepreneurship Program is dedicated to the development of students having an entrepreneurial outlook who will create and lead new ventures on PEI. Harry W. MacLauchlan (1926–2002) combined his entrepreneurial initiative, work ethic, business judgment, and people skills, with a deep commitment to his family, community, and province. The MacLauchlan family endowed this award to help advance and encourage entrepreneurial students at UPEI to build innovative ventures that will grow and benefit Prince Edward Island communities.

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