TCHC and partners empower young entrepreneurs to launch new businesses

Group photo of tenants and staff holding a cheque

Top prize winner, Kalid Musse, flanked by Be.Build.Brand. alumnus Michael Gezahegn (left); judges (from 2nd left: JR Thomas, Meher Kaur Bhasin, and Warren G Salmon) and the program's partners representatives: Wayne Tuck, Director, Consulting Practices, Ya

Jane-Finch resident Kalid Musse is the winner of this year's Be.Build.Brand. pitch contest. Kalid is the founder of NarFire, a startup that wants to help save lives and properties using simple innovative technology combined with anti-fire solutions.

Over a 12-week period, 10 emerging entrepreneurs living in Toronto Community Housing participated in several workshops to learn the art of starting and growing a business. Following the successful completion of their mentorship and entrepreneurship training, they took part in a pitch contest held on December 11 at George Brown College, Waterfront Campus.

A panel of judges chose NarFire as the most promising venture and awarded Kalid with the $5,000 grand prize. Kalid will use the money to fund the commercialization of his product.

Andrea Kabeya of My Awesome Party (a mobile app to help plan special occasions like baby showers, birthdays and weddings) won the second prize of $3,500 and Sawda Adan of The Baking Sawda (a specialty bakery for people who have religious and dietary restrictions) won the third prize of $2,500. The seven other contestants received $900 each towards their ventures.

The panel of judges included accomplished entrepreneurs and professionals such as Christina Cheng, a creative producer; Warren G Salmon, founder and CEO of Black Board International (BBI); Neal Lilliott, Manager at startGBC; Meher Kaur Bhasin, Project Coordinator at Brook Restoration; and JR Thomas, a real-estate investor.

A special thank you to Yardi Canada for donating the startup funds and to the program's partners — startGBC, George Brown College, the City of Toronto and Enterprise Toronto — for their support in making the 2019 edition of Be.Build.Brand. a resounding success.

tenants pose with a giant cheque

Sawda Adan, middle, with her family members.

tenants pose with a giant cheque

Andrea Kabeya, 4th from left, with her family and friends.

Group of people watching and judging a contest

A crossview of judges and guests at the Be.Build.Brand. pitch contest.

Man presenting in front of a crowd with a giant screen behind him

Be.Build.Brand. alumnus, Ermias Nagatu, addresses guests.