Startup Weekend PEI

    Friday, May 1 - 3, 2015

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
  8. Blog
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Startup Weekend PEI

Friday, May 1 - 3, 2015

Friday, May 1 - 3, 2015
Event starts at 5:30 pm

PEI Farm Centre
420 University Avenue
Charlottetown, PEI

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Be Part of the first Startup Weekend PEI! No Talk, All Action! Join a Team and Launch a Startup!

Join Startup Weekend PEI for Charlottetown's first ever Startup Weekend: Farm and Food Edition. Turn your idea and enthusiasm into a thriving Startup, put your skills to work and forge strong relationships with other liked minded people interested in entrepreneurship and seeing growth in our community. Startup Weekenders don’t just learn about entrepreneurship. They spend 54 dynamic and motivating hours building scalable companies that solve real-world problems.

Fantastic prize packages for the top three teams including: in-kind services, mentoring, office space, legal consultation  


Friday May 1st

5:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:20 pm
Dinner (Must arrive by)
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:00 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

8:30 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:00 pm
Team Forming & Begin Work
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

Saturday May 2nd

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:30 pm
Dinner, Check In, Pitch 101, SW 101
Covering the basics on creating a great pitch while eating dinner. After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

9:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday May 3rd

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

10:30 am
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS

4:00 pm
Final Presentations

5:00 pm

5:30 pm
Judging & Awards


John Rowe
President of Island Abbey Foods Ltd & Founder of honibe

John L. Rowe, as Founder and President of Island Abbey Foods Ltd. (also known as Honibe (“Honey Bee”) – Pure Honey Joy®) and the Timeless Group of Companies, is the definition of a serial entrepreneur.   Honibe’s product lines include pure Honey Candies, Honey Lozenges and Honey Gummies multi-vitamins, supplements and natural health products.  Honibe’s products are sold in over 40 countries in grocery, pharmacy and specialty retailers.  The Timeless Group of Companies (Timeless Technologies®, Timeless Medical System® and Timeless Veterinary Systems™), has been developing advanced software products, integrated hardware and IT systems since 1994 for local Island businesses, the medical and veterinary industries.     John has considerable experience in launching new products: over 20 years of engineering experience in product design, development and successful market rollout including 500 innovations, 5,000+ technology licensees, and 150,000+ end users around the world.  The key to John’s success has always been the team he has surrounded himself with. The Honibe team stands at 85 full time and part time staff, and the Timeless team stands at 45 full time and part time staff, across Canadian and International bases of operation.   John’s keen entrepreneurial endeavors landed him on Dragon's Den in January 2011, securing a ‘TV deal’ for one million dollars for his unique honey and natural health business.  Visit: to see John and his brother Justin slay the Dragons!              Please visit:, and for more details about John’s companies.   John graduated from Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Quebec, in 1995. 

Event Judges

Bill Martin
Owner Water Street Bakery/ Mayor of Summerside

Bill Martin is  a native of Prince Edward Islander with an extensive background in  retailing, training & entrepreneurship.  Bill and his wife Josette are co-owners of Water Street Bakery & Deli in Summerside, since 1988. He spent five years as CEO of the Center for Entrepreneurship & Educational Development  (CEEDPEI) and recently retired as the Atlantic Canada Director for The Canadian Youth Business Foundation Loan Program  (CYBF). Bill regularly volunteers as a speaker to youth and other employment programs and he is the author of the highly acclaimed “Fresh Start” life skills programs. Elected in November 2014, Bill is the Mayor of the city of Summerside. He is married with three children and enjoys sailing, golf, reading, family time and travel.

Russ Mallard
President Atlantic Beef Products Inc

  Russ is the President of Atlantic Beef Products Inc  (ABP) in Albany PEI. Russ has a solid background in the meat industry, the foodservice distribution industry. He is also recognized as an accomplished entrepreneur and a trusted advisor and consultant to business owners in the Region as a management consultant, trainer and mentor. Russ also served on the board of ABP for approximately three years, ending in 2012. Russ began his career in Charlottetown, PEI, over 35 years ago, as a sales representative with Canada Packers. He also worked in Nova Scotia and Ontario in the Fresh Meats division of the company.   In the mid 80’s, Russ moved to Alberta and BC with Centennial Food Corporation, ultimately becoming their National Sales and Marketing Manager. He was highly involved in the development of value added beef products.  He returned to the Atlantic region in the early 90’s in a senior management role with Hub Meat Packers, in Moncton.  In 2000, he established with a partner, M&S Foodservice Inc., a Moncton based foodservice distributor.  M&S quickly expanded and was acquired by Gordon Food Service (GFS), a US based company and industry leader in 2003.  Russ remained on as President and CEO of M&S Food Service Ltd. For the past 7 years, Russ has served businesses, in the Atlantic region, in an advisory capacity focusing on sales and management training.  Russ is a Business Administration graduate of Ryerson University, a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow and Founding President of the Greater Moncton Sunrise Rotary Club and is actively involved in the community. Russ and his wife Chris have four children age 15 to 23.

Tyson MacInnis
Director of Company and Product Development, PEI Culinary Alliance

Tyson works with food start-ups, food companies, and industry groups to support their growth and new food product development efforts.  As part of this effort, Tyson manages the Food Emergence incubator program and connects companies with expertise, partnership and funding opportunities.  Previously,Tyson worked as Manager of Innovation Programs at Innovation PEI and Director of Commercial Development at FoodTrust of PEI.  In addition, Tyson and his wife own Cavendish Maples Cottages, and Tyson is a partner in a restaurant and artisan food start up.   Tyson holds an MBA and recently completed the MIT Venture Mentoring Program.

Martina MacDonald
Executive Director of Active Communities Inc. and the Community Business Development Corporation (CBDC)

Martina was raised in Cardigan in a very entrepreneurial family of ten. Her father started the Cardigan Feed Service and the business is still running today.Martina is an entrepreneur like her father and started her own business Second Glance Interiors twenty two years ago.After twenty two years in Management of seven retail outlets she moved on and accepted the position of Executive Director of Active Communities Inc. and the Community Business Development Corporation (CBDC).  The CBDC has offices in the Rural Action Centres in Montague and Souris.She has a passion and drive to grow the economy in Kings County through rural development. She works with entrepreneurs who are starting new businesses, those who are wishing to expand their business, helps client’s access training opportunities to develop business skills and offers business counselling.

Coaches and Mentors

John Sewuster
Business Consultant

Having worked for Pillsbury, Diageao, Parmalat Canada and Acadian Seaplants, John has over 25 years of domestic and international sales, marketing and business development experience. He’s had direct brand and product line responsibilities, extensive experience developing and bringing products to market, as well as identifying and establishing the distribution structure and relationships into which they are sold. In recent years, through his own business development consulting company, Waypoint Business Solutions, John’s focused has shifted to helping small & medium sized Maritime companies bring their products or services to market. Working closely with a firm, he provides support in strategy development, business, marketing & sales planning, market and channel identification and establishment, and when requested, domestic and international sales & customer management

Robert Nelson

Robert Nelson is a serial entrepreneur with strong focus in the ICT field.  He is the Chief Technical Officer of BFN Tech PEI, a local think tank; the Chief Operating Officer of Startup Charlottetown, a local entrepreneur empowerment space; co-owner of the SPOT Charlottetown, a shared work environment; and lead developer for Wicked Eh? Wireless.  Robert enjoys sharing his experience and knowledge with like minded and eager up and comers in the ICT field.

Jeff Schnurr
Executive Director Community Forrests International

Jeff Schnurr is a social entrepreneur that helps rural communities achieve economic prosperity through sustainable innovation. As the founder and Executive Director of Community Forests International, Jeff has empowered rural communities in Tanzania to plant over a million trees, grow food, harvest rainwater and power households through solar energy. In New Brunswick, Jeff is developing a rural hacker space for farming, forestry and alternative energy. Jeff also founded Community Forests Canada Inc. a for-profit sustainable forestry company.

In addition to his work at CFI, Jeff is the founder of Jaza Energy Inc, a solar energy provider and Envaya, a tech start-up that supports grassroots organizations in the developing world. Jeff has been named one of Canada’s top ten volunteers by the CBC and Manulife, and was named one of Explore Magazine’s Top 30 under 30

Hannah Bell
Executive Director PEI Business Women's Association

Hannah holds an MBA in Innovative Management from UPEI, and has 30 years of varied experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors in the UK, Brussels, and Canada. She is currently the Executive Director of the PEI Business Women's Association, owner of consultancy firm ‘The Solution Agency’; a partner in training firm ‘Business Learning Solutions’, and co-owner of ‘The SPOT Charlottetown’, a creative co-workspace and business incubator. Hannah is an active volunteer within the arts and business community, is the Chair of the Board for Ars Longa (The Guild) in Charlottetown, and community lead for Startup Charlottetown, part of the Startup Canada entrepreneurs network.  Her work focuses on building capacity and influencing change through the power of story telling, practical training and skills development, strategic planning and sustainable project design. Recent projects include the HIVE Business of Art Bootcamp for entrepreneurs in the arts and cultural sector; Young Millionaires Program for kids ages 8-16 who want to start a business; and the PEI Business Women’s Association ‘Telling our Stories’ Campaign, mentoring program, and micro-grants for small businesses.

Phil Fisher
Plant Manager Atlantic Beef Products Inc.

Phil Fisher is the Plant Manager of Atlantic Beef Product Inc, Albany PEI and is responsible for all aspects of production, logistics and maintenance for the operation.  Phil is originally from Ontario but now calls PEI home after moving here with his family in 2013. He has an extensive background in meat processing and working in Federally Inspected facilities and has experience with HACCP, production flows, industry regulations, BRC and SQF audit programs and USDA Audits. Phil has been responsible for both unionized and non-unionized work employees.  He has always been on the front line of process improvement initiatives in the facilities he has worked in. Phil has been in management roles for over 20 years.  He loves a good game of poker and hockey and enjoys spending time with his wife and two children aged 17 and 11.

Suzanne Iwankow
Chief Financial Officer Atlantic Beef Products Inc

Suzanne Iwankow is the Chief Financial Officer of Atlantic Beef Products Inc. in Albany PEI.  She has been implementing her business acumen there in the role of CFO since 2009 and has been a contributor to its growing successes.  Suzanne commenced her business career with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Toronto after graduating from the University of Toronto with Honours in the Bachelor of Commerce program in 1995.  She obtained her Chartered Accountant designation in 1998 and rose to the ranks of Audit Manager by 1999.  In 2000, Suzanne made an international move to work at the accounting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu in Brisbane, Australia.  Working at an accounting firm has provided Suzanne a broad business experience with exposure to a variety of clients ranging from real estate to beef processing to midwiferies.  An entrepreneurial husband has provided Suzanne with opportunities to be involved in the day to day functions of running your own business.  Suzanne raced her first marathon last year and is contributing to the PEI running community as Treasurer of the PEI Road Runners club.

Joelle MacPhee
Director of Marketing

An award winning Schulich graduate, Joelle is responsible for Ooka Island's marketing and growth. She's had Ooka Island featured in the Huffington Post, Dragons’ Den, Backyard Inventors and more. At the 2013 National MindShare EdTech Summit, Joelle won "Start-up with the Most Impact on Student Learning" and "Solving the Biggest Problem in Education".

Kent Thompson
Director of Finance and Food Tourism

Kent Thompson is the Director of Finance and Food Tourism at Food Island Partnership. He has worked with entrepreneurs or been an entrepreneur for most of his life, including growing up on a dairy farm, operating the Blue Mussel Café with his family, and, recently, leading the launch of Lucky Fox Snack Co. He also worked with the Department of Agriculture as Product Development Officer, was the Chief Operating Officer at PEI 2014 Inc. and worked as a consultant to new and expanding businesses in PEI. Kent graduated from St. FX University with a BBA majoring in Enterprise Development and received an accounting designation through the MBA-CMA program from St. Mary’s University.

Phil Ferraro

Phil Ferraro and his wife, Nancy Willis, founded  The Institute for
Bioregional Studies Ltd. with the mission to help, ‘Restore Community,
Protect the Land and Inform the Earth’s Stewards.” Phil is also a
founding  member of the Atlantic Canada Organic Regional Network. He is
a board of director for the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation and
Gifts from the Heart Inc. and is also an advisor to the Centre for Local

Phil’s masters degree, in Social Ecology, included a thesis on creating
food and energy self-reliance in northern climates with studies in
renewable energy, organic agriculture, community development and social

In 2014, Phil helped create the PEI Farm Centre’s, ‘ Legacy Garden;’ 
Canada’s largest urban farm. The Legacy Garden operates as a social
enterprise with over 150 community garden allotments,  several theme
gardens and a ‘Goodwill Garden;’ from which food is donated to charities
in an effort to help alleviate food insecurity.

Over the past 2 decades, Ferraro has also become an accredited Corporate
Social Responsibility
(CSR ) practitioner. He remains busy helping entrepreneurs turn their
business ideas into commercial realities that address the climate crisis
with social, economic and environmental solutions.

Kevin Carver
The Berry King: PEI Berries Ltd.

Blueberries are high on the list of the world’s healthiest foods. They have one of the highest antioxidant capacities essential to combat free radicals. They are touted to improve memory and have a favourable impact on blood sugar. Wild blueberries in particular have twice the antioxidant capacity of cultivated blueberries. Suffice it to say that blueberries have reached superstar status in terms of health benefits. They are good for the heart, brain, blood sugar, eyes, colon….your whole body! Ta-da! Enter Kevin Carver of PEI Berries Ltd. Kevin wanted to research and improve growing methods that increase sustainability, grow healthier food, and help other farmers through his research. He started with an environmentally sustainable operation that doesn’t allow fungicides or insecticides that are harmful to health. He uses compost teas instead of conventional fertilizers. Native bees pollinate the plants – he has a system of fields for them to work, and a pasture of wildflowers for them to relax. Kevin’s relaxation is in the field too, doing what he loves best. PEI Berries Ltd uses an innovative technology to process the berries – the process improves on the goodness of nature to allow the body to readily absorb the nutrients. Launched in 2013 the first product, Pure Blueberries, contains 800-900 whole (peel, seed and pulp) wild blueberries and nothing else – no sugar, water, preservatives, flavours or colours. Just a bottle of whole wild pureed blueberries. Get some and stay healthy!

Peter Crooks
Canada's Smartest Kitchen

Peter Crooks is a native New Brunswicker, raised in Sackville, and is a science graduate from Mount Allison University. He holds a Master’s degree in Medicine from Memorial University and a post graduate degree in project management and software development. Peter left the lab bench in 1997 to pursue entrepreneurial interests in technology incubation and investment. He spent a decade on Bay St. working with early stage business startups assisting in due diligence and technology assessments, market entry strategies and sourcing risk capital. Peter has held senior management positions overseeing product development activities for numerous emerging bioscience and agrifood-based innovations. Prior to assuming his current role as Executive Director of Canada’s Smartest Kitchen, Peter spent 4 years in the business office of the National Research Council’s Institute for Nutrisciences and Health. His experience in the commercialization of innovation spans the entire “food to pharma” continuum providing a unique perspective in building an open innovation ecosystem for food product development in Atlantic Canada.Peter’s entrepreneurial passion lies at the intersection of science, food and business. He runs an active consulting agency assisting small and midcap companies with strategic guidance, expert networks and investment capital. Peter sits on several private enterprise advisory boards and has recently been selected as an expert and investment juror at the European Food Ventures Forum in Aarhus, Denmark.

Michelle Kienitz
Business Development Specialist

Michelle Kienitz, Business Development SpecialistAs Bioenterprise Corporation’s Business Development Specialist, Michelle Kienitz is establishing and growing relationships with Ontario-based agricultural universities, research institutes, producer groups, business accelerators, and incubators. Michelle is also attracting new corporate members to the Bioenterprise Corporate Membership Program and assisting in its management.Michelle’s former position as a Wholesale Sales Rep for Sylvite Agri-Services strengthened her ties to independent and corporate agricultural businesses in Ontario. She grew a diverse portfolio of agricultural bulk and blended fertilizer, lime and kitty litter across Canada. Her clients included National & Provincial retailers, and family-run operations. She as served as a Research Intern on a Food Security Roundtable at the Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship (Guelph). She brings with her the talent to navigate the unique needs of organizations, a critical and creative approach to partnership, and a passion for advancing agriculture in Ontario and Canada.Michelle completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo in Social Development Studies before completing an M.A. in Political Science & International Development at the University of Guelph where she focused on food security. She was raised on a cash crop and hog farm in Southern Ontario.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend PEI team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.

Signature Sponsors



Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Charlottetown is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Arleigh
  • Treena
  • Phil


Sally Ng
CEO, The Triple Effect & DigiLearn

Event Staff

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Event Blog

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