Launching a successful business is a major milestone for any aspiring entrepreneur. However, the true measure of accomplishment lies in nurturing that startup and taking it to new heights. That is precisely why Futurpreneur and Spin Master have collaborated to deliver the Growth Accelerator. It is an exclusive opportunity for Futurpreneur-supported entrepreneurs to broaden their horizons and give their businesses an edge.
This extraordinary initiative is tailored for diverse young entrepreneurs who have already launched their businesses and are growth-focused. The program provides entrepreneurs multiple opportunities for coaching, knowledge-sharing, networking, and supports from experts to maximize their chances of successfully scaling their business.
This year’s Growth Accelerator included 25 entrepreneurs from across the country who participated in three months of workshops focused on marketing, operations, and finance. Futurpreneur also held an exclusive session, in collaboration with Empower by GoDaddy, to help enhance digital presence and increase sales.
Led by subject matter experts, the Growth Accelerator workshops provided entrepreneurs insights on scaling their startups and enhancing their skillsets to achieve their business growth goals. The sessions culminated with two days of in-person events, where the entrepreneurs came together and pitched their businesses, with James Lynn from KALŪ, taking home a $10,000 cash award to put towards the growth of his business.
The Growth Accelerator summit kicked off at Spin Master’s head office in downtown Toronto where the enthusiastic cohort was welcomed by business leaders including Futurpreneur’s CEO, Karen Greve Young, Vice President, Programs & Partnerships, Janis Nixon; Spin Master’s Vice President of Sales, Tom Linnemann and Vice President, Communications & Corporate Social Responsibility, Tammy Smitham.
The opening keynote was delivered by the visionary – Jon Levy, Head of Spin Master Ventures and Co-Founder of Mastermind Toys.
Our Growth Accelerator cohort also had the privilege of learning from accomplished young entrepreneurs and Futurpreneur alumni. Mark Argo, Co-Founder of Little Robot Friends, Wilmer Hernandez, Founder of Montañeros Coffee, and Candace Tierney, Founder of Oat & Mill, shared their success stories and the challenges they encountered along the way. Their insights provided inspiration and guidance to our participants, offering a glimpse into the realities of the entrepreneurial journey.
The highlight of the day was the incredible showcase organized for the entrepreneurs to display their products and services, which included eyewear, tutoring services, health and wellness, pet food, outdoor recreation, and others. The event served as a tremendous opportunity for our entrepreneurs to develop partnerships and collaborations with each other, network with industry leaders, and explore possibilities to scale their businesses.
The day concluded with an awe-inspiring address from none other than John Risley, Founder and President of Clearwater Foods, and the esteemed Founding Board Chair of Futurpreneur Canada. As an industry leader, and titan of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, John Risley’s presence was a testament to the caliber of our program. What truly set him apart was his genuine interest in our cohort, and his business insights resonated deeply with the entrepreneurs, leaving an indelible impact on them.
The young entrepreneurs were excited to interact with a diverse array of trailblazers, each with their own remarkable journey and experiences. These interactions ignited a spark within the cohort, leaving them motivated to bring their A-game to the pitch competition scheduled for the following day.
On the heels of a successful day one, filled with engaging conversations with an exceptional line up of guests, the diverse young entrepreneurs were ready to pitch their businesses and vie for the coveted $10,000 cash award.
The day began with an invigorating session on the “Power of Storytelling”. With his infectious energy, Jake Karls, the dynamic Co-Founder & Rainmaker of Mid-Day Squares delved into his own entrepreneurial journey, from the modest beginnings of starting a business with his sister and brother-in-law in their apartment in 2018, to the astounding achievement of selling over 20 million chocolate bars within five years.
Jake’s advice to the entrepreneurs was clear and impactful. His storytelling prowess captivated all in attendance and left them supercharged to unlock their own untapped potential. He emphasized the importance of authenticity in establishing genuine connections with their audience and encouraged them to embrace vulnerability without fear. With his mantra of “being real” and fearlessly embracing disruption, he empowered our Growth Accelerator cohort to boldly carve their own unique paths to success.
The next session was a workshop on “Effective Communication”, hosted by Rahel Appiagyei-David, Founding Director of One1000 Consulting. Rahel shared the secrets to forming customers connections through effective communications including building on credibility and accountability to strengthen trust for the brand.
Soon after, the pitch competition started with the participants breaking into rooms to present their pitches to judges including Valerie Fox, Chief Innovation Consultant, The Pivotal Point, and Futurpreneur Board Member; Catherine Addai-Boadu, Founder and CEO of KAELA KAY; Melissa Allen, Executive Director, League of Innovators (LOI Accelerator); Tom Linnemann, Vice President of Sales, Spin Master; Tammy Smitham, Vice President, Communications & Corporate Social Responsibility Spin Master, and Dominik Loncar, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Futurpreneur.
The judges were inspired by the entrepreneurs’ vision and decided to move forward with six finalists instead of five, including: James Lynn, Founder of KALŪ, Abbie Morris, Co-founder of FarOut Wilderness, Ty de Hoog, Founder of True North Cider, Anisa Musmary, Founder of Wanderruff, Michael Collins, Founder & CEO of Periculum, Julianne Nieh, Founder & Director of Teaboco.
After an intense round of pitching to an expanded audience of judges including Jake Karls and Joshua Misquitta, from CIBC, James Lynn emerged as the well-deserved recipient of the coveted $10,000 cash award. The exhilaration in the room was palpable as James’ name was called, and his reaction was nothing short of pure joy. With genuine excitement, he exclaimed, “The Growth Accelerator experience ranks amongst the highest highs I’ve ever experienced. This award will allow me to fast-track certain projects that otherwise would’ve been put off until a later time. These projects will significantly accelerate my growth in the short term and help my business reach new heights! I’m so grateful!”.
Check out our full press release for more on James’ win!
With day two drawing to a close, the conclusion of this year’s Growth Accelerator program filled the air with an atmosphere of positivity, camaraderie, and boundless enthusiasm. The participants, special guests, and esteemed judges, departed with hearts full of inspiration and a shared sense of accomplishment. The successful culmination of Futurpreneur’s Growth Accelerator ignited a collective anticipation for the next round, fostering a desire to continue the journey of growth and empowerment.
As the curtains closed on this year’s program, the prevailing sentiment was one of gratitude and excitement for the next chapter. The Growth Accelerator had fostered an extraordinary environment that nurtured growth, ambition, and limitless possibilities. The participants departed with a desire to continue their entrepreneurial journeys, armed with the experiences and connections gained through this initiative led by Futurpreneur, in collaboration with Spin Master. Until next year’s Growth Accelerator, their journey continues with the unwavering belief that anything is achievable.
If this article inspired you to embark on your own entrepreneurial journey reach out today! The Growth Accelerator is tailor-made for ambitious entrepreneurs who are supported by Futurpreneur with financing and mentorship and have a strong desire to scale their businesses. If this sounds like you, be sure to apply when the next round of applications for the Growth Accelerator opens up.