Daniel Nolan,The Hamilton Spectator

Justin Evangelista, 15, and Amanda Pope, 17, were the night's big winners at the 2nd annual MIGHTY Pitch contest Thursday night at the McMaster Innovation Park.

Hamilton Spectator

By Daniel Nolan 

There was the idea of bringing drones to customers — it's called Yaw Dynamics and was being pitched by Brandon Boragno of St. Thomas More Catholic High School.

Then there was Anthony Sanchez of Nora Frances Henderson High School. He pitched the idea of "turning waste into gold" with his company called Sanchez Circuits.

But the one that grabbed the judge's attention was an idea from Justin Evangelista regarding online games. It was called Deadline Developers and involved linking company websites to games to help attract customers and build up web traffic.

Evangelista, 15, and a Grade 10 student at St. Thomas More, won the judge's prize in the 2nd annual MIGHTY (Mentors in Greater Hamilton Teaching Youth) Pitch program Thursday night at the McMaster Innovation Park.

The People's Choice prize went to Amanda Pope, 17, a Grade 11 student at St. Jean de Brebeuf Catholic High School. Her company was called BibliCare and revolved around providing elderly care services with Christian inspiration. Honourable mention went to Kundai Mariga of St. Thomas More for her company called Nail Nibblers.

MIGHTY is a partnership between the Industry-Education Council of Hamilton and the Innovation Factory. The award program followed 13 weeks where participants were taught the basics of starting their own business through a series of workshops.

Twenty students competed in MIGHTY Pitch and a chance to enter a program run by the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure and receive a $3,000 grant to operate a business. Last year, three of the recipients for the 100 grant allocations came from MIGHTY.

Judges and IEC co-ordinators were amazed by the business ideas.

"It's amazing what high school students can do," said David Carter of the Innovation Factory. IEC project co-ordinator Alex Ramirez told the students, "There's one winner for the judge's choice, but I want to let you know you are all winners tonight."

Evangelista said he felt "amazing" after hearing his name announced by the judges. He said he almost didn't join MIGHTY because he didn't believe entrepreneurship was for him, but he has since learned he likes it and plans to have his own business one day.

"I believe I have got a very good start," he said.

Pope said she got the idea for her company after her 95-year-old grandfather had five heart attacks last year. She and her family pitched in to help him and it inspired her to help other elderly people "to let them know they still have life in them."

AuthorLorenzo Somma