Youth Entrepreneurship Summit (YES) Algoma Coming in September 2017

YES Algoma

Youth Entrepreneurship Summit (YES) Algoma invites youth to learn about starting a business, creating positive change, and driving innovation in their community

Youth Entrepreneurship Summit (YES) Algoma is a two-day event where youth ages 16 to 29 from the Algoma region will come together to learn business and entrepreneurial skills, grow their network, and be encouraged to become active changemakers in their communities. Taking place on September 21 and 22, 2017 at Algoma’s Water Tower Inn and Suites in Sault Ste. Marie, YES Algoma is funded by an Ontario 150 grant, and being organized by the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) and its youth entrepreneurship division, YouLaunch.

YES Algoma will provide attendees with many opportunities to learn and engage with entrepreneurial leaders and organizations from around the Algoma region that offer various types of assistance to young entrepreneurs. Following the conference, relationships and networks established at YES Algoma can lead to further regional collaboration, consultation and economic growth driven by this vital youth segment of our population. Over the course of two days, YES Algoma will include expert speakers, skill-based workshops and many opportunities to network with other youth and regional business leaders.

“We want YES Algoma attendees to leave excited, inspired, and well-informed, with a plan of action for how they can start their own business, how they can incorporate innovative ideas in their workplace, or drive positive social change in their communities,” says John Prgomet, Business Development Manager, SSMIC. “They will have a greater understanding of entrepreneurship, what it means to be an entrepreneur, what it takes to be a successful business owner, and what resources are available to help them succeed.”

Keynote speakers include three highly respected and successful Canadian entrepreneurs and changemakers helping drive innovation, business growth and social enterprises, including: Michele Romanow, a current Dragon on CBC’s Dragon’s Den, a tech titan, engineer and serial entrepreneur who started three companies before her 28th birthday; Ann Makosinski, a 19 year-old student at University of British Columbia, inventor, entrepreneur, and creator of the Hollow Flashlight and E-Drink; and Kendal Netmaker, one of Canada’s top Indigenous entrepreneurs and founder of Neechie Gear, a clothing brand that aims to empower youth through sports.

The skill-based workshops will be facilitated by community partners and organizations supporting entrepreneurship and innovation. YES Algoma attendees will have the opportunity to choose three out of seven workshops to register for and participate in based on their personal interests. The Summit will also have regional networking opportunities relevant to youth, for those attending to engage with organizations and fellow attendees from the region.

“New connections will be formed with a network of like-minded people and organizations that youth can reach out to for support even after YES Algoma as they begin to put plans to action,” continues Prgomet. “The community support for youth entrepreneurship, small businesses and new business development in the Algoma region is evident, and the Innovation Centre along with our YouLaunch team is here to help every step of the way, from building a business plan, obtaining funding, helping access legal advice and more.”

YES Algoma is an Ontario 150 funded event, led by the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre and its youth entrepreneurship division – YouLaunch, with support from community partners including the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation (SSMEDC); the Youth Social Infrastructure (YSI) Collaborative; and the Sault Community Career Centre (SCCC).

YES Algoma is for youth ages 16-29 living or going to school in the Algoma region. Tickets are free, but registration is required as limited spots are available. Limited travel stipends are available for those over the age of 18 travelling from 115km or further.

As a project funded through the Ontario 150 grant program, YES Algoma aims to engage youth, encourage cultural expression, promote community participation, and create jobs and economic opportunities across the region.

Visit to register and learn more, or email [email protected] with general inquiries. Follow YES Algoma on Facebook for regular updates and exciting announcements as the Summit nears! Attendees who register before July 11 and be entered to win a VIP Prize Pack!


Meet YES Algoma’s Keynote Speakers:


Michele Romanow

Michele Romanow
Tech titan Michele Romanow is an engineer and a serial entrepreneur who started three companies before her 28th birthday.

Tech titan Michele Romanow is an engineer and a serial entrepreneur who started three companies before her 28th birthday. The newest (and youngest ever) entrepreneur to join CBC’s hit show Dragons’ Den, Michele is the co-founder of e-commerce platforms and Snap By Groupon, which have saved millions of users hundreds of millions of dollars. She is also the co-founder of, an online financial service for freelancers, independent contractors, and entrepreneurs. Ranked in WXN’s “100 Most Powerful in Canada” and listed as the only Canadian on Forbes’ “Millennial on a Mission” list, Michele brings her youthful energy and incredible entrepreneurial savvy to every stage.

Check out Michele on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!


Ann Makosinski

Ann Makosinski
Ann Makosinski is a 19-year-old student, serial inventor and media darling doing numerous global appearances and keynote talks.

Ann Makosinski is a 19-year-old student, serial inventor and media darling doing numerous global appearances and keynote talks. Her first toy was a box of transistors, which launched her journey into the world of inventing. Ann participated in local science fairs starting in grade 6, and in grade 10 her inspiration grew when her friend in the Philippines failed her grade because she had no electricity or light to study with at night. The Hollow Flashlight was created… a flashlight that runs off the heat of the human hand! Ann won numerous awards at the Intel Science and Engineering Fair, and ultimately won her age category at the 2013 Google Science Fair. She is currently in talks to manufacture and globally distribute her flashlight. Ann is one of the most sought after inventors and global influencers of her generation.

Check out Ann on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!


Kendal Netmaker

Kendal Netmaker
Kendal is one of Canada’s top Indigenous entrepreneurs and motivational speakers who grew up on Sweetgrass First Nation, SK.

Kendal is one of Canada’s top Indigenous entrepreneurs and motivational speakers who grew up on Sweetgrass First Nation, SK. He was raised single-parented, living on welfare and no opportunity to be involved in after school sports. In grade 5, his best friend from South Africa gave Kendal a helping hand by giving him the opportunity to take part in soccer. He never forgot about what his friend had done for him when he later founded the popular clothing brand, Neechie Gear. A lifestyle apparel brand that empowers youth through sports. A portion of profits help fund underprivileged youth to take part in sports. After finishing two degrees from the University of Saskatchewan, Kendal grew the brand from a small 1 bedroom apartment to a small kiosk to several pop-up stores and recently opened a new headquarters in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The brand is now sold to consumers across North America through other exclusive retail partners and online (

Check out Kendal on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!


ssmic-youlaunchAbout the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC)
The Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) is a non-profit organization established in 1999 to function as a catalyst for economic development and diversification in the information technology and science knowledge-based sectors. SSMIC’s mission is to drive business growth, facilitate research and commercialize innovation in globally significant areas of science and technology through partnerships, expert advice, community development, business incubation, youth outreach and sector development activities. Key SSMIC business divisions include the Accelerator Hub, Community Geomatics Centre, Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN), C2C Business Support Services, YouLaunch, UP Lottery & Gaming, and Smart Energy.

About YouLaunch
Established in 2015, YouLaunch is the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre’s youth entrepreneur program which acts as a catalyst for youth entrepreneur development in the Sault and Algoma region. Through outreach activities and business start-up resources, youth ages 29 and under are engaged and supported to pursue their business ideas and consider entrepreneurship as a career. YouLaunch develops outreach activities, tools, and resources geared to youth entrepreneur development. Learn more at, on Facebook, and Twitter.


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