Small Business Canada


TORONTO, ON – July 19, 2022 – After a vigorous competition with eight elite student entrepreneur finalists, Judges at the EO Canada GSEA’s National Championship have chosen a final five winners to share a national prize purse of $100,000 cash.

The top two winners have also been chosen as Canada’s representatives at the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) Global finals happening in spring 2023. There, they will compete with the most accomplished student entrepreneurs from over 50 countries around the globe.

The 2022 Thomas GSEA Foundation Canadian winners are:

AwardFirstLastCompanyCityProvince SchoolWinner/Business Description
#1DavidHodgsonHollo MedicalHalifaxNSDalhousie Medical SchoolDavid Hodgson, P.Eng, CEO and Co-founder of Hollo Medical Inc., is entering his final year of medical school at Dalhousie University. His pursuit of medicine, as a mechanical engineer, was inspired by his work at a medical device start-up where he invented a delivery system to help interventional radiologists treat liver cancer. He founded Hollo Medical while in medical school, after his father was suddenly affected by a functionally limiting respiratory illness. It is his aim to become a lifelong physician-innovator, and it is the mission of Hollo Medical to ease the global burden of respiratory illness.
Business info:
Hollo Medical was founded in 2021 to reduce the burden of chronic respiratory diseases by transforming the current cumbersome, standard-of-care inhaler spacer into a device that achieves optimal drug deposition and can easily fit into a pocket.
BronwynBridgesPragmaClin Research Inc.St John’sNLMemorial University of NewfoundlandBronwyn Bridges grew up in Summerside, PEI always giving back to her community through volunteer work. During her undergrad at StFX she met a Parkinson’s Patient who inspired her to study neuroscience. While working on her Masters of Pharmacy she met Gord, her co-founder who worked with her to develop a remote monitoring system for neurological diseases. They are now using their software to validate the accuracy to be used to reduce burden within our healthcare system.
Business info:
PragmaClin’s PRIMS (Parkinson’s Remote Interactive Monitoring System), is a proprietary out-of-the-box integrated system that will monitor, analyze, and rate the severity of a full range of symptoms. Movement data and quality of life information will be captured and uploaded to a secure server from a remote location. PRIMS will give control back to the patient and will enable clinicians to tailor treatment based on individual patient profiles. Furthermore, PRIMS will decrease healthcare costs by reducing clinic visits and short-circuiting emergency department trips.
Maskwa Backcountry Foods
ABMount Royal University
As a Métis entrepreneur Erin is driven by a passion for all things business, food and the outdoors. Through her experience working in the backcountry and in various businesses, she saw that there was an opportunity to combine Métis culture and nutritious recipes. This drives her motivation of sharing Métis culture and creating healthy alternatives to traditional backcountry and prepared foods. 
Business info:
Maskwa Backcountry foods produces freeze-dried and dehydrated food creations tailored to meet two main market opportunities, the first is to produce backcountry food that is tailored to meet the needs of those with dietary restrictions or preferences such as keto, gluten-free and Paleo and the second is to create bulk food options to meet industry needs such as ecotourism and outfitters all inspired by recipes from the founder’s Metis Roots.
Grit AwardJamieLandryBlack Harbour Distillers Inc
HalifaxNSDalhousie University
Landry started Black Harbour Distillers as part of a school project. He was recognized as one of the youngest owners of a distillery in North America. While BHD is becoming an established business in the community and industry, he hopes to grow into becoming a major player on the international market someday.
Business info:

Black Harbour Distillers is a local manufacturer of local spirits. They produce various Vodka, Rum, and Gin’s by infusing our products with other local ingredients, like Blueberry Vodka made from Lunenburg Blueberries or Maple Rum, infused with Acadian Maple Syrup. The production is all done in an old schoolhouse located in Hubbards NS.
Impact Award 
EdmontonABUniversity of Alberta
Over 73% of people are afraid of public speaking, yet less than 15% of schools offer speech and debate programs. TalkMaze bridges this gap by connecting schools and individuals with high-quality public speaking training.

“Now, more than ever, Canadian youth entrepreneurs need our support,” said Peter H. Thomas, EO Chairman Emeritus. “As Canada heads into a perceived recession, it will be an incredibly difficult time for start-ups to get adequate funding and grow to meet their full potential. We who have launched successful businesses and thrived for decades need to pay it forward to the next generation, both financially and with volunteerism and advocacy.”
Download high-resolution photos of the event here

Peter Thomas, a legacy Canadian entrepreneur, Founding EO Member & Chairman Emeritus, through the Thomas GSEA Foundation, has committed $1.5 Million to Canada’s GSEA Program. Taking bold action to support the next generation of Canadian Entrepreneurs, in support of the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) Canada Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA), the Thomas GSEA Foundation has created a major, annual $100,000 national purse for Canadian students who own or operate a business while enrolled in post-secondary education.  In addition to the monetary prize is the invaluable exposure and access to mentors, student entrepreneur communities, investor groups, and much more that will help these students successfully grow their businesses.  

Each year, top finalists from EO Canada’s GSEA National Competition also advance to represent Canada at the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards Global Finals.

This Spring’s EO Canada GSEA Awards
Are you a post-secondary student interested in participating in the National Qualifier Competition in May 2023? Register now to be notified when applications open for next year’s GSEA Awards!

A call to join the cause
A committee of outstanding volunteers runs EO Canada’s GSEA program, but they cannot do it alone. Support is needed by anyone who wishes to contribute time, services, or financial support to make the program and Canadian student entrepreneurs’ lives richer.  Help us help the next generation of entrepreneurs.

About the Thomas GSEA Foundation
The role of the Thomas GSEA Foundation is to fund and collaborate with Canada’s GSEA Committee to create one of the best GSEA programs in the world. Its mission is to revolutionize what’s possible for students across Canada who identify as entrepreneurs, creating pathways and opportunities for advanced learning, mentorship, and access to key resources to support their business endeavours and increase the likelihood of their successes.

About GSEA
The Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) is the premier global competition for students who own and operate a business while attending college or university. Nominees compete against their peers from around the world in a series of local and national competitions in hopes of qualifying for the GSEA Finals. Along with prizes for the best student entrepreneurs, GSEA also uniquely recognizes additional winners whose businesses offer exceptional contributions to society.
GSEA was founded in 1998 at the John Cook School of Business at Saint Louis University in Missouri, United States. Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) took over the running of the program in 2006 and the programme has expanded from three participating countries to over 56.

SOURCE The Thomas GSEA Foundation

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