Announcing the Rhyze Ventures Pitch Winners

Oct 22, 2020 | Client Stories, Media Releases

Innovation Guelph and the Rhyze Ventures program are excited to announce the first cohort winners of the culminating pitch contest.

The Rhyze Ventures pitch awards are provided to one competitor from each of the program’s three streams: small business, social enterprise and scalable along with a People’s Choice award based on event attendee votes.This pitch competition culminates the completion of the eight-month Rhyze Ventures program that combines education (leadership/business skills), mentorship, hands-on project work and networking events.

Small business

Lenore Johnson
LenJo Bakes
($5, 000)

Social Enterprise

Pam Fanjoy
($10, 000)


Jane Ong
Neophyto Foods Inc.
($25, 000)

People’s Choice

Carey McClement
Lucy Pearlle
(10 hours of free mentorship)

“We have had a phenomenal first cohort, with businesses pivoting, supporting each other and persevering through a global pandemic. I am proud to have worked with these businesses and excited to see where they go next,” said Katherine Laycock, Rhyze Ventures program manager. “As we welcome our second cohort, I am eager to learn more about each individual entrepreneur. Being a part of their journey is the best part of my job, seeing them grow their business and community makes me confident we are on the right path forward.”

Innovation Guelph is grateful for the objective evaluation provided by the judging panel who met October 16:

  • Debora Bielecki, CEO & Partner at Bielecki & Associates Incorporated
  • Donna Litt, Co-Founder and COO at Kiite
  • Jordan Jocius, Director of Founder Institute
  • Rina Carlini, President & CEO at Optimal Innovation Group
  • Sandra Hinojosa Verdin, Industrial Technology Advisor at the National Research Council Canada

The Rhyze & Shine event held virtually October 22 featured:

  • Keynote Speaker: Martha van Berkel, CEO Schema App who reminded our audience that everyone’s journey needs community and support – remember to ask for what you need!
  • Three networking break out rooms
  • Pitch competition video
  • VIP guests including:
    • Lloyd Longfield, Our Member of Parliament (MP) for Guelph since 2015
    • Steve Masson, Director General Business Innovation and Community Development Branch at the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
    • Mike Schreiner, the leader of the Green Party of Ontario and the Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Guelph
    • Anne Toner Fung, CEO Innovation Guelph

We congratulate our pitch winners and all nine finalists who participated in the qualifying round from August 25 to 27, 2020!

Small Business

Alma Ellis – Fresh Step Foot Care

Emily Chatten – Kinthera

Lenore Johnson – LenJo Bakes

Social Enterprise

Carey McClement – Lucy Pearlle

Pam Fanjoy – Fan/Joy

Tina Chan – PASS inc.


Arla Kasaj-deJonge – AcuMade Corp.

Denise Gavin – Awarewear

Jane Ong – Neophyto Foods Inc.