Past event…

Event Ended

Killam Library, LINC Room 2600. Dalhousie University


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$16,000 in Prizes:

SWHalifax Prizes

Registration Instruction for Dalhousie Students:

This is a community led event and all members of the greater Halifax community are welcomed!  If you are a member of the public, please click on the orange Register button above to register.

However if you are a Dalhousie student, please Do Not use the public registration button above. Instead please register using this link:  If you do, your registration fee will be paid for by the Norman Newman Centre for Entrepreneurship at Dalhousie University . To finalize your registration, you need to pay a $20 Refundable Deposit by 5pm Thursday November 14th. (Your $20 will be returned to you in person on the day of the event.) You can drop off your $20 Refundable Deposit with Philip Mai at the Starting Lean Co-Working Space (Suite 5063 at Dalhousie Faculty of Management  – Rowe building 6100 University Ave).



Nov 15
  • Registration Starts
  • Dinner & Networking
  • Welcome & Speakers
  • Pitches Start
  • Attendees vote for the top ideas
  • Teams start forming and discussing ideas
  • Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Nov 16
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend
  • Lunch
  • Call for needs & skills
  • Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!
  • Dinner
  • Mid weekend check-in, status reports, call for help
  • Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Nov 17
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Call for help (this is self motivated, so don’t be shy)
  • Lunch
  • Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS
  • Gut check. Start prepping for presentations
  • Judging & awards
  • Wrapup & Go Home
Platinum Sponsors

Michael T. Anaka, CA

Audit and Assurance Group partner, PWC

Mike is the Managing Partner for our Atlantic office.

Mike received his Bachelor of Arts in 1978 with a major in Economics from the University of Victoria. He joined Price Waterhouse, Victoria in 1978 and received his designation in 1981. He transferred to Halifax in 1982 and became an Audit Partner in 1992. In January of 2000, Mike left the firm to become President and Chief Executive Officer of a local technology company. In January of 2003, Mike rejoined the firm as Managing Partner for the Atlantic Region. Mike is also currently the Atlantic Region Consulting and Deals Leader and the Atlantic Region Private Company Services Leader.

Mike has over 30 years of assurance and advisory experience for a wide variety of private and public companies. Mike’s wide range of experience includes:

• Mike served as the global relationship partner for a large multinational company operating in the retail food industry.

• Mike has experience as the engagement leader for a number of other significant Maritime clients.

• Mike has undertaken a significant number of consulting and advisory assignments, many of a financing nature. These include numerous business and strategic planning engagements, securing debt and/or private or public equity financing and government assistance for clients.

• Mike regularly advises clients in all industries on matters related to the purchase and sale of a business. He is a trusted business advisor for entities ranging from small startups to multinational enterprises.

Patrick Keefe

Partner, Build Ventures   |  

Patrick has over 15 years of highly relevant investment and entrepreneurial experience. As vice president of investment at Innovacorp, Patrick oversaw the organization’s seed and early-stage venture capital activities. He worked hands-on with Innovacorp’s portfolio companies to assist them in accelerating their growth, achieving milestones and securing additional financing.

In 2004, Patrick founded CVAI to launch Starbucks Coffee in Atlantic Canada, securing an exclusive license to operate. Starbucks Corporation acquired CVAI in 2008.

Previously, Patrick held senior positions with Boston-based venture capital firm Atlas Venture and the Boston Consulting Group, which provides strategic advisory services for leading companies around the world.

Patrick holds an M.Phil from Oxford University and an MBA (Distinction) from Harvard Business School.

Heather Spidell

President and CEO, Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development   |  

Change maker/innovator/collaborator/connector/learner and entrepreneur

“They will use what they have to secure what they have not.” – Moses Coady

Saeed El-Darahali

President and CEO, SimplyCast   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Saeed El-Darahali is the president and CEO of SimplyCast, a leading provider of self-service multi-channel marketing solutions that empowers businesses of any size to create, manage and track their online and offline marketing campaigns.

He is the driving force behind the SimplyCast team, who built the company from the ground up to what is now an industry-leading marketing platform that serves clients in over 175 countries. Saeed brings over 10 years of management experience in the IT industry, with an interest in strategic partnering, corporate financing, strategic growth, operations, and sales and marketing management.

He has participated as a speaker at many conferences, including NAWeb, CABI, the 7th World Congress of e-Business, Enterprize Atlantic, ARCNA and was a part-time lecturer at Saint Mary’s University, where he taught a senior level computer information systems course.

Most recently Saeed attended 48hrs in the Valley representing SimplyCast after the company was selected as one of Canada’s most promising start-ups. This followed SimplyCast being named one of the most popular marketing automation solutions by Capterra in early 2012. Saeed is passionate about technology and about helping people reach their goals. He enjoys sharing his experiences with start-up companies, offering insights into growing a business and becoming successful. Saeed holds a Masters of Business Administration, a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, a Certificate of Human Resource Management and Minor in Economics, all from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Saeed is a one top shop for business knowledge

David Upton

Co-founder, Common Good Solutions Inc.

David Upton has worked with hundreds of startups on idea development, planning and financing. He is the co-founder of Common Good Solutions Inc. and an advocate for the development of enterprising solutions to social problems.

Ying K. Tam

President & CEO, Mindful Scientific

A seasoned entrepreneur and business executive with over 20 years of industry experience, Mr. Tam has a passion for building companies, taking multiple start-up companies from concept to business reality. Start-ups he has co-founded include abridean (acquired by nCipher plc), where he was responsible for all market facing activities as Sr. Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Business Development, and i-HRx (acquired by Healthconnex), where he had various roles including President & COO.

A high energy, results oriented executive with significant operational, management and strategic experience, Mr. Tam has had operating roles in a wide range of organizations, from early stage companies to major multi-national corporations. Currently Mr. Tam is President & CEO of Mindful Scientific, an early stage medical device company where he has responsibility for the overall business strategy and the execution of the operational plan. Previously, he was President & Managing Director of Maritech Software (acquired by AKVA Group ASA), a mid-market ERP software and consulting company, Vice President in the Management Consulting Practice at Ernst&Young, and has held director level positions at CGI and SAP.

Mr. Tam has been a Director on the boards of several public, private and not-for-profit organizations. He currently sits on the board of Odgen Pond Technology Group and Fairmont Advisors.

Silver Sponsors

James D. Nicoll

Vice President, Deals & Consulting, Transactions & Business Development PricewaterhouseCoopers

Jamie is one of Atlantic Canada’s specialists in Corporate Finance. With a background in raising capital on both public and private markets, mergers and acquisitions and the divestiture of companies in the $1M to $30M range, he is able to bring a broad perspective to your potential transaction. Jamie joined the PricewaterhouseCoopers team in 2002. He has worked with Investment Dealers as both an Investment Banker (Yorkton Securities) and stock- broker (RBC Dominion Securities, Beacon Securities). Prior to joining the financial services industry, he spent ten years as an entrepreneur with a successful Halifax based sales agency.

Nicole Osmond

Director, CYBF Atlantic

“When you empower youth with choices, resources, and support, amazing things can happen,” says Nicole Smith, CYBF Director for the Atlantic region.

And she knows this well: having joined CYBF in 2010 following a nine-year stint at the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development (CEED), a CYBF community partner. Nicole has a diverse history working with entrepreneurs throughout Atlantic Canada. Her passion for entrepreneurship is infectious, after all “to be a part of the entrepreneurial movement is inspiring…to witness a young entrepreneur’s dream evolve from an idea to reality and to see their passion behind it, is incredible.”

Nicole holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland and is currently the President of the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Network and volunteers her time with Junior Achievement and Immigrant Settlement and Integration Services.

- See more at:

Akram Al-otumi

CEO, Azal Student Agency

Akram Al-otumi is deeply immersed in the local entrepreneurial community. He’s a graduate of Dalhousie University where he completed a Bachelor of Commerce in marketing and fulfilled the requirements for the marketing logistics major, as well as completing the Intercultural Communication and Entrepreneurial Skills Program certifications. Outside of the classroom Akram was a student leader founding the Dalhousie chapter of Enactus and serving as president for the Dalhousie chapter of the World University of Canada. Akram currently works as a social entreprise consultant with Common Good Solutions and coordinator of the Entrepreneurial Skills Program at Dalhousie’s Norman Newman Centre for Entrepreneurship. He is also founder and CEO of Azal Student Agency, sits on the organizing committee of Start-up Weekend Sana’a and volunteers his time to coaching and mentoring student entrepreneurs. Akram’s efforts have been recognized with a number of awards including Student Entrepreneur of the Year for the province of Nova Scotia and a Dalhousie ‘Gold D’.

Akram is excited to help current and future students achieve success through entrepreneurship.

David Mackinnon

Founder, Nova Wise

About Novawise

Novawise provides the technology to enable enhanced insight into your company’s business process and strategy: know what’s working and what isn’t.

Instant analysis of the data gathered on the ground makes it easy to change tactics nimbly, at head office or out in the field.

Our tools fit into existing systems and can be customized to follow any procedure you use, so you can pick up the pace rather than reinvent the wheel.

Mary Kilfoil
Ed Leach
Brian Lowe
Philip Mai
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