There were only two spots available, but students Joseph Moncada and Lawrence Krimker of York’s Schulich School of Business took them, making them the 2008 Ontario Student Entrepreneur Champions in March. The two then went on to claim the top spots in the 2008 Regional Student Entrepreneur Competition the following day, along with a $1,000 cash prize each and a chance to compete at the national level.
The annual championships are awarded by Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship (ACE), a national charitable organization that strives to teach and ignite young Canadians to create brighter futures for themselves and their communities. Winners of the 2008 ACE National Exposition, which takes place on May 14 in Toronto, will receive $10,000 and go on to represent Canada at the international level in the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards.
A fourth-year IBBA student, Moncada is the owner of Sweet Tooth Candy Emporium, which he started in 2006. He already has three permanent locations – Scarborough Town Centre, Centrepoint Mall in North York, and Wasaga Beach – as well as seasonal kiosks offering rare, unique, retro and imported sweets from around the world. Candy from three and four decades ago, chocolate that’s not usually found in Canada from the UK and elsewhere, along with the unusual, such as chocolate covered bugs, can be found at the stores.
"Everyone kind of doubted the idea and doubted me, so it was great getting some recognition," said Moncada. "Everyone thought, ‘This isn’t going to last, what are you doing?’ So this award is awesome."
Right: Joseph Moncada (second from right) surrounded by friends and supporters inside his Wasaga Beach Sweet Tooth Candy Emporium
In the coming year, Moncada is looking to expand Sweet Tooth Candy Emporium, which already employs 25 people. The company also has a number of corporate clients. Dreamworks handed out candy from the Sweet Tooth Candy Emporium at its opening for Bee Movie.
Krimker is the owner of CG Media Inc. For just over a year now, CG Media Inc. has focused on providing a platform for aspiring models who balance a full-time course load with trying to break into the Canadian modelling industry. The business occurred to Krimker because his girlfriend, Aleksandra Malkin, a second-year biochemistry student at York, is a model. That gave Krimker crucial insight into the problems associated with pursuing a modelling career while still getting an education. Malkin is one of 60 competitors at the preliminary Miss Universe Canada contest on April 26 in Toronto.
"I realized there is a big niche market available. It really opened my eyes to how difficult it is pursuing a career in modelling while being a full-time student," said Krimker, who is finishing his fourth year at York. "This way they get to break into the industry without having to sacrifice their education."
Left: Lawrence Krimker and Aleksandra Malkin
CG Media Inc. provides aspiring models with the contacts, industry knowledge and exposure necessary to be competitive. The company holds an online competition for 12 models to represent 12 national brands in a calendar. Some 600 applications from across Canada competed for the 12 spots in the first calendar (2008), which was distributed to over 60,000 students nationally. The models also attend customized campus events. CG Media Inc. has also secured long-term advertising deals with Labatt, Pepsi and Apple, contributing to an excess of $180,000 in first-year revenues.
"The cool thing is they get to try out the industry," said Krimker. He is hoping to become the largest national brand for campus models and is working on a deal to team up with one of the country’s largest modelling companies. As well, a male calendar is in the works.
Both York-student businesses were assisted by the Summer Company program run through the Ontario Ministry of Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
"2008 was a record breaking year for the number of student entrepreneurs who participated in the competition," said ACE President Amy Harder. "Once again we are inspired by the level of entrepreneurial activity among youth who will drive the Canadian economy into the next century."
Working in partnership with business and higher education, ACE provides postsecondary students with the opportunity to gain entrepreneurial and leadership skills outside of the classroom. It offers a team-based program, Students In Free Enterprise, and an individual based program, Student Entrepreneur. The goal of the programs is to assist students in becoming entrepreneurs and business leaders who will make a meaningful contribution towards a better Canada.