Area residents among winners of 2018 Hawk”™s Nest competition

The 2018 Hawk’s Nest drew a crowd of over 200 people to the Knights of Columbus Hall near Walkerton on June 13.

The Dragon’s Den-inspired competition, covering the areas of Grey, Bruce, Wellington North, Minto and Owen Sound, saw seven entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to the “Hawks” or local “angel investors.”

 Hawks John Fowler from Supreme Cannabis Company (Tiverton), Sandy Gott from Ice River Springs Water Company (Feversham), Brian Hilbers from Bruce Power (Tiverton), Joel Koops from MSW Plastics (Palmerston), Tony Solecki from Caframo (Wiarton) and Susan Wright from Amazing Assets (Walkerton) committed to invest $5,000 in the entrepreneurs during the evening; totalling a minimum of $30,000.

However, after hearing entrepreneurs’ pitches, negotiations resulted in over $53,000 in investments including grants, loans and partnerships.


Michelle Bauman’s Growing Abilities of Mount Forest received $3,000 in donations and a $5,000 interest-free loan to expand and provide day programs and supports for adults, in Wellington North, who live with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Sherry-Lynn McRobb’s  Family Home Health Care Centre, located in Palmerston, sells mobility and medical products which includes rentals and service. She received a $5,000 loan, as well as mentorship.

Ranjan Pradhan is developing Shrimp Canada in Palmerston. The shrimp farm will initiate sustainable farming and sale of whiteleg shrimp. Ranjan received a $5,000 loan and mentorship as well as building supplies to assist with the construction of his new building.

Tarah Coates of SurfSup Eco Shop and Rentals in Kincardine received $2,000 in donations, $5,000 loan, legal advice, as well as mentorship. SurfSup rents and sells surf boards as well as develops the culture through lessons, retreats and community development events.

Cooper Loblaw of The Urban Chick in Meaford received $3,000 in donations towards paying the tuition of another student at his academy, as well as $1,700 for the purchase of one of his chicken coops by a Hawk.. The Urban Chick aims to help reconnect this generation and others back to their food roots by building and selling chicken coops to city dwellers in Toronto.

Ruth Montgomery’s Lucknow-based The Maven Project is a collection of personal development events, including workshops, retreats and camps. She received a loan ranging from $5,000-10,000, as well as the purchase of tickets to her weekend camp at a value of $4,800, and the chance to be introduced to the Bruce Power Leadership Development Program.

Jesse Topp of Topp Performance in Port Elgin received $9,000 in grant/ donations towards free memberships for students of need. Topp was the recipient of the People’s Choice Award and received a cash reward of $930. Jesse also received $500 for advertising on Bayshore Broadcasting as well as five hours of business consultation from BDO. Topp Performance’s mission is to provide a unique training experience custom tailored to each client’s individual goals. They strive to provide fitness training “that is an enjoyable experience – not a daily burden,” Hawk’s Nest officials state.

The seven entrepreneurs walked away with valuable advice and feedback from the six high profile business leaders, organizers note.

The second Hawks’ Nest competition was deemed a huge success by the presenting partners.

Rose Austin, general manager for Saugeen Economic Development Corporation is pleased with the new partnerships formed with the Hawks and the participation of the sponsors.

“Partnerships are of vital importance to any project, they are the reason for success. Small business is the backbone of our communities and with all the people involved in the Hawks’ Nest, we can’t fail.”

Barb Fisher, general manager for Bruce Community Futures Development Corporation, told the audience, “We’re thrilled with the results and hope to do it again.”

The SEDC and the Bruce CFDC are not-for-profit organizations that have partnered to provide an avenue for existing businesses looking to expand and entrepreneurs wanting to start a business.