Loving the Venture Challenge

June 9, 2016 - 3 minutes read

One of the YELL teams participating in the Venture Challenge at SFU this year. PHOTO (L-R): Mentor, Haafiz Doosa of Weblogix, Michelle Cheung – Grade 12. Imaan Jiwa – Grade 12. Julien Curlier – Grade. 11 Calder Staude – Grade 11. Kameel Ladak – Grade 11. Jo-Anne McKee – Teacher Mentor, Maheep Dhillon of Emerald Health Botanicals

by Karen A. Johnson
Career Programs
Sentinel Secondary School

On May 7th, I attended “YELL Canada’s 3rd Annual Venture Challenge” at the SFU Morris J Wosk Centre.

I was very, very impressed. Jo-Anne McKee has worked very hard with the YELL organization and our students in developing this program.  Our YELL students worked with business mentors and their “ideas” required plenty of research, planning and development before coming to this stage. They all did an excellent job!

Three districts entered the contest: Richmond, Coquitlam and West Vancouver, and there were multiple teams involved. One of the groups of students from our district came in third place. What an exciting opportunity for these young entrepreneurs!

I also had the opportunity to meet with David Cameron, Executive Director of YELL Canada and many of the mentors who are young, inspirational and successful in business today. They all shared their stories and I was encouraged with a strong belief that these students will be going places. Please see below for a story from one of the participants.

Michelle C. writes:


West Vancouver Schools Venture Challenge teams.

On the day of the Venture Challenge, I woke up feeling poised, prepared, and in the zone. Knowing that this is the pinnacle moment where we shine, I also felt incredibly giddy and excited! As my group of five, dressed in slick business attire, presented our brainchild idea “ModernCook” (the private chef spinoff of Uber) to a panel of judges, I enjoyed every moment, knowing that all of the months in which we pivoted our idea, conducted market research, calculated financials, and honed the pitch itself paid off in the end. We left the room beaming and in high spirits like true entrepreneurs dedicated to their craft.

Ms. McKee’s YELL course was an eye-opener from the very beginning, as we got to listen to the advice and stories of business gurus, learn about all aspects of the dynamic business canvass, go on a spectacular field trip to a prestigious law firm and tech start-up, and finally get connected with not one, but two mentors in my group’s case to eventually become the pioneers of our very own business. Instilling us with passion, and equipping us with real knowledge, YELL really propelled us into a whole new world of business that I gladly immersed myself in and took full advantage of!