ANTIGONISH: A local university student received both praise and funding following a recent pitch competition.
StFX entrepreneurship student Hannah Chisholm recently won the 100 Seeds Atlantic pitch competition and claimed the top prize of $10,000. Chisholm will use the money for her business idea called Eggcitables, a vegan egg substitute using chickpeas.
The Heatherton native, who is in her final year at StFX, took part in the StFX Wallace family internship last summer, where in students learn how to develop an idea into a business. Chisholm said she learned of the competition through program coordinator Paula Brophy, with the StFX Extension department, who felt it worked perfectly with Chisholm’s Eggcitables idea.
Chisholm was one of 18 applicants to the 100 Seeds Atlantic pitch competition, and was selected as one of three finalists to come and attend a pitch event in Halifax. One hundred business owners from across Nova Scotia are asked to come and hear the pitches and donate $100 each to make up the grand prize.
Chisholm described Eggcitables as a substitute in dishes like scrambled eggs and omelets. She said they are formulating it so it can be used in baking as well.
“It’s really high in protein but it’s lower in fat,” she said. “It also has zero cholesterol.”
After making her pitch on January 16, Chisholm said she heard she won within 20 minutes.
“This money goes towards the commercialization of my product,” she said. “What I’m doing right now is I am still in the product development stage. I’m working with the Perennia Innovation Centre based out of Truro so we’re just working on essentially perfecting my product and making sure the texture is perfect.”
Chisholm said she hopes to officially launch Eggcitables shortly after graduation.
“Essentially, this money allows me to be able to work within that timeframe,” she said. “Now that I have this start-up seed money, I can now register my business, I can officially incorporate. I can implement a marketing strategy and really get things going.”
Chisholm said she aims to have on-line sales through popular vegan product Web sites. She said she would like to introduce Eggcitables into health food stores and gradually expand to commercial grocery stores.
“StFX University has done so much to enable to be able to do this,” she said. “Every opportunity that I have received is essentially because I have a professor or mentor who encourages me to do it. I really think StFX does a really great job, and their entrepreneurship program specifically, to encourage students.”