Nathan Delong photo/ Telegraph Journal

Grade 12 student pulls up his socks to jump into business

by NATHAN DELONG - Saturday, November 25, 2017

This article is courtesy of Telegraph Journal

Graham Wallace's young entrepreneurial journey began with a random thought.

The Grade 12 student at Saint John High School said he got an idea out of nowhere one night to build his own sports equipment company and produce an innovative hockey sock.

Wallace is now working to secure a patent for his product called Quickfit, a sock that won't require hockey tape to secure while providing players with a more comfortable fit on the inside.

"It's amazing. I never thought this would be possible," Wallace said at the Anglophone South School District Pitch-fest event at Millidgeville North School in Saint John.

"The idea just hit me one day and I've been riding the wave ever since."

Wallace was among close to 100 students from eight schools in Anglophone South who took part in Pitchfest. Half of the district participated last week, while the rest were involved Thursday.

Wallace said Pitchfest gives students a sense of the business world and gets them out of their comfort zones by working with people they may not know well.

"We get to develop business ideas that no one thought was possible,"said Wallace,who has also worked with the Saint John Sea Dogs major junior hockey team to test his product.

At Pitchfest, high school students in entrepreneurship classes from across Anglophone South work in randomly selected groups to develop business ideas, pitch and refine them.

Then they present them to their peers, judges and school district staff, along with representatives from Enterprise Saint John - a group that promotes business growth in the Port City.

The finalist groups chosen by the judges get to share their ideas with everyone on hand and receive tokens from the audience for their ideas.

The groups with the most tokens - or votes from the audience - are named the winners.

For Wallace, it wasn't just his idea that got further than he expected. His business aspirations have also reached the next level.

"I never thought I'd be anymore than a 9 to 5 guy,"he said."Now I've realized I can affect change in the world and start my own company."

St. Malachy's Memorial High School Grade 12 student Cole Raid made a prototype device that dog owners can wear on their hands to minimize irritation from leash grips when walking their canine pals.

"We cut out a little mitt with holes in it,"he said."We broke down some numbers to figure out how much it might cost to make and what [price] we could sell them for.

"We figured we'd donate some money to [the SPCA] as well to tie in the community side of things."

Raid said he and his fellow group members tried researching their product online, but they couldn't find anything like it.

"It was cool to see how it started from something small and formed into this business idea,"said Raid.

Michele Lodge, Enterprise Saint John youth entrepreneurship co-ordinator, said events like Pitchfest develop future business owners.

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