Vancouver Startup Weekend brings BC entrepreneurship community to SFU

Nov 22, 2011

Vancouver Startup Weekend, sponsored by the Beedie School of Business and hosted at the Segal Graduate School in downtown Vancouver, brought together entrepreneurs from across the region to develop their business ideas from early-stage conceptualization to real-world viability.

A panel of local entrepreneurs and investors awarded first place to “My Best Helper” at the Vancouver Startup Weekend. “My Best Helper” is a web-based service that matches caregivers with people who need their services.  Nannies, babysitters, eldercare givers, and pet sitters are matched with clients based on their skills, interests, location and recommendations. The award was based on the product’s large addressable market, business case, and the fact that the idea was developed based on personal experience.

The team will go on to compete against winners from thirty-seven other cities in the Global Startup Battle. Winners of that event will take home an assortment of cash, prizes and some one-on-one time with a celebrity venture capitalist or angel investor.

The “My Best Helper” team includes:


  • Francois Deschenes – a web-application developer with 16 years of experience in the industry who loves nothing more than a challenge to bring both his creative thinking and rational perspective to the solution – download his iPhone app Phone Helper
  • Peter Gao –currently doing a B.Sc at SFU, Producer and Programmer at Mr. Five Studios, Web Developer at MadRenegade
  • Rauza Zhenissova – completing a B. Sc. UBC, has worked for on-line magazines
  • Tom Ng –B.Sc. from SFU, implemented websites such as & and intranet for TransLink and GoldCorp.


  • Estella Lum – Emily Carr University of Art + Design – Estella is an awarding-winning creative and brand strategist who is passionate about communicating the beauty of impact-focused brands to help them prosper. She is the founder of Possum Umbrellas.


  • Alexandra T.  Greenhill – MD University of Montreal, family physician and mother of three, nationally recognized health care leader, received the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada 2005 Award
  • Cory LePage –graduated from BCIT – mechanical design engineering – Investor and Entrepreneur,  Business Development Consulting/Coaching,  Real Estate Investor and Coach
  • Rob Attwell – BA University of Victoria, MBA from Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, a serial entrepreneur, has extensive online media experience including a role as Director of Development for Stockgoup Media Inc. and consulting work for Associate Press AP Digital service

Second place went to “Bag Tag”, a social media based e-commerce solution, and third place to “Juke Nuke”, a product that allows users to vote up or down music selections played at a bar, café or other venue.

“We were extremely pleased to be part of bringing Startup Weekend to Vancouver,” said Kirk Hill, Assistant Dean, External Relations at the Beedie School of Business. “With 54 hours, people formed teams, hashed out ideas and built applications – one had even submitted it to the Apple ITunes Store. One of our key focuses as a school is to promote innovation, and bringing this global organization to Vancouver is just one of many ways we connect what happens in the classroom to the real world.”

About Startup Weekend Vancouver, November 18-20, 2011

Startup Weekend Vancouver, hosted by the Beedie School of Business, allowed entrepreneurs to discover if their startup ideas were viable through a 54 hour hands-on event. Startup Weekend’s attendees were composed of half with technical backgrounds and the rest with business backgrounds. Beginning with open-mic pitches on Friday, attendees brought their best ideas and inspired others to join their team. Over Saturday and Sunday, teams focused on customer development and idea validation while practicing LEAN Startup Methodologies and building a minimal viable product. On Sunday evening, teams demoed their prototypes and received valuable feedback from a panel of venture capitalist, entrepreneurs and academics.

See: for more information on Vancouver and for further background on the global organization.

Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University

The Beedie School of Business supports numerous programs around innovation including an undergraduate concentration in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the Management of Technology MBA and the Ken Spencer Incubator.  The school was one of the founding partners in New Ventures BC and is proud to be the Platinum and host Sponsor for Startup Weekend Vancouver.

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