‘Pitch it to me’: Student businesses shine at annual Mawji Centre competition

by | Dec 15, 2023 | News

The Mawji Centre hosted their annual pitch competition on November 29 and the pockets of three more student businesses are feeling heavy. The competition was hosted in the Productivity and Innovation Centre at NAIT, and a panel of internal and external judges narrowed down 40 applications to the top 10, who attended the event. The top five applicants competed for their share of $8,000 of prize money. 

Dale Schaub, Event Co-Organizer and Mawji Centre Entrepreneurship Coach,  said it was the best group the competition has seen. “The quality of businesses that students are building keeps getting better and better.” 

In the top spot this year was Chris Small, an Applied Information Systems student. He’s one of the founders of Faculty of Skin, a company “disrupting the traditional cosmetic marketplace.” To date, the company has over $150,000 in sales-to end users and is currently conducting three pilot programs. Small and Faculty of Skin walked away with $4,000. 

Second place and $2,500 went to Wire Financial. This money transfer app was founded by Mehrab Shikder, a Business Entrepreneurship student. His company focuses on helping people send money from Canada to his native country of Bangladesh. Shikder has received a money transfer business license, which Schaub called “an impressive feat.” 

EZNOIZE, an app that makes booking shows “faster, easier and cheaper for both independent artists and small-medium venues,” was awarded third place and $1,500. Tora Matys is the brains behind EZNOIZE, and she’s no stranger to the music industry. Matys was previously the Entertainment Editor at the Nugget, worked in commercial radio and has a podcast where she interviews Canadian musicians. 

The pitch competition is just one of the things the Mawji Centre offers to student entrepreneurs. Since its inception in 2017, their students have raised over three million dollars from investors. The Centre is also on track to give away over $100,000 in grants this year. For students looking to start their own business or connect with an advisor, visit CAT309A or email mawji@nait.ca.

Cover Photo: Competition winner Chris Small poses with his certificate. Photo supplied

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