The University of Windsor EPICentre celebrated an incredible milestone on January 19th, 2024 – ten years of fostering entrepreneurial spirit on the University of Windsor campus and beyond. Joined by community partners, University staff and faculty, EPICentre alums, friends and family, the EPICentre team hosted a celebration at Ambassador Golf Club, which featured a fireside chat, the inaugural Student Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards and more.
Three EPICentre alums took the stage to share their entrepreneurial journey. Ameen Fadel, Cofounder & President of Cedar Valley, Connor Holowachuk, cofounder of Eigen Fitness, and Nia Thompson, founder of Art-ology, shared their stories, from humble beginnings at EPICentre to significant accomplishments in their respective industries. The audience was captivated by their individual stories and had the chance to ask them questions and connect with the entrepreneurs during the networking portion of the evening – an exciting opportunity for the student nominees in our Student Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards.
Our inaugural awards ceremony featured three categories:
The Entrepreneurial Trailblazer Award acknowledges the exceptional accomplishments of a student entrepreneur who has demonstrated visionary leadership and significant entrepreneurial success.
Congratulations to the winner Nathan Brockenshire
Nathan is studying Mechanical Engineering with an Automotive Specialization and is also the founder of Brock’s Detail Co., A car detailing business that launched during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Nathan turned this home-based business into a mobile one shortly after launching, giving him enough of a client base to hire two employees onto his team. Over the past four years, Brock’s Detail Co. team has raised over 11.5k for the Hospice of Windsor by organizing car wash events with a team of volunteers. Their last event in August of 2023 raised over $3000 for the cause.
Innovation Mastery Award recognizes a student entrepreneur whose business or ideas have demonstrated remarkable innovation, creativity, and the potential for positive impact.
Congratulations to the winner, Ahmed Ali
Ahmed is an Electrical and Computer Engineering student whose venture evolved from his final-year engineering capstone project, which addresses a critical challenge in drone technology: the ability to navigate indoors where GPS signals falter. Ahmed’s innovation is a custom-designed flight controller, which he builds from scratch, incorporating vision-based algorithms to guide the drone. Ahmed equipped the drone as a flying Wi-Fi access point, enabling it to transmit data back to operators wirelessly. This feature ensures a swift and reliable flow of information indoors, a significant upgrade over traditional radio transmissions.
Best Bounce Back Award honours a student entrepreneur who has shown exceptional resilience in the face of challenges and has successfully overcome obstacles to achieve their entrepreneurial goals.
Congratulations to the winner, Adam Gaisinsky
According to Adam, one of the toughest challenges in business is changing the standard practice in a field. That is exactly what he has done with the Windsor Chess Enrichment Program. Their decision-based structure with an open environment is something that, according to Adam, is looked down upon in the chess community for being too casual, resulting in a low number of registrants at the start. The program stuck to its beliefs and ran at a loss until testimonials and student improvement changed the community perspective. As evidenced by the program’s current success, the Windsor Chess Enrichment Program overcame this issue by sticking to its morals, listening to students’ feedback, and targeted marketing. The WCEP was also founded during the COVID-19 pandemic, making aspects like inventory, logistics, marketing, hiring, and curriculum development all the more challenging. Adam dedicated his own resources and countless hours to get the program off the ground.
Thank you to our incredible judging panel that had the difficult job of choosing the winners: Ameen Fadel, Connor Holowachuk, Hakeem Subair, Nicole Anderson, Wen Teoh, Aparna Krishnamoorthy, Barry Leavitt, Cristina Melnik, Joe Heraldo, Meaghan Wasylyk, Noah Campbell, and Stephanie Clark.
Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate with us; cheers to our past decade, and here to the next one!