News – Extension Department

Events and updates from the world of the St. Francis Xavier University Extension Department.

StFX Extension Sponsors Antigonish International Film Festival 2017

StFX Extension Department will sponsor three films in the Antigonish International Film Festival 2017, October 26 – 28. Antigonish International Film Festival website:

Atlantic (2016)

Friday, October 27, 2017,  4:45 – 6:05 PM, Cineplex, Antigonish, NS (76 min.)

A beautifully filmed documentary about fishing resource allocation, oil exploration and politics affecting small Atlantic communities.

Ireland/Canada/Norway Director: Risteardo Ó Domhnaill

A New Economy (2016)

Saturday, October 28, 2017, 2:40 – 4:05 PM, Town Hall, Antigonish, NS (85 min.)

Seven interwoven stories of organizations moving toward a more cooperative future using non-traditional business models.

Canada Director: Trevor Meier

This Cold Life (2017)

Saturday, October 28, 2017, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM, Town Hall, Antigonish, NS (88 min.) Norway Director: Darren Mann

A tight-knit group of colourful and resourceful residents in Norway struggle to find innovative ways to sustain their small community.

Norway Director: Darren Mann


Summer Launch’s Young Entrepreneurs


Ben Kennedy

Kennedy’s Cubes

Contact: (902) 783-2043

Ben Kennedy has been working hard this summer making, preparing and selling bags of ice from his home in Lochaber, NS. Each bag is approximately 8 pounds and sells for $3.50 and can be picked up by stopping in at the family home where Ben will happily retrieve your much-needed ice from his freezer. Customers can also purchase ice lakeside from the family’s dock and make orders in advance by calling Ben directly.

Ben originally started working in the ice business with his brother Alex 5 years ago. At the time Alex was interested in making money to purchase a four-wheeler. By working with his brother, Ben learned that in order to get the things that he wanted he would have to work for them and earn them himself.

By operating his own business Ben has learned that being an entrepreneur can be challenging at times as you have to stay on top of things and making sure that you refill your ice trays to keep up with demand. Being a business owner can also be fun, meeting new people and making some extra spending money is always a positive experience.

This summer Ben learned that if you have a business it has to be your own project and that if you do a good job people will say nice things to you. He also learned that business ideas do not have to be complicated – sometimes it can just be water and trays!

With the help of Summer Launch Ben was able to get new business cards and some new ideas on how to further develop his business idea. He was also able to purchase a bigger upright freezer to make and store a larger amount of ice.

Caleb Peters

Caleb’s Lawns and More


Caleb Peters worked hard this summer offering lawn care services to members of his community. He was able to meet new customers with the help of his family’s connections and promoting the business on social media. Caleb also used email to communicate with his prospective clients and set up times to provide his services.

As Caleb is too young to work a full summer job he found starting a business to be a great way to spend his time and be active in the community. When coming up with his business idea he thought back to the various activities that he had done in the past and the resources he had at hand to come up with “Caleb’s Lawns and More”.

Running a business for the summer came with many ups and downs, but Caleb was prepared for these events and anticipated there would be challenges along the way. One of the biggest things he learned by operating his business was self-discipline and that you really have to focus on your goals in order to make the activity successful.

Caleb is very pleased with how his summer went and is proud of his accomplishments. He received many compliments on his work throughout the summer which made him feel good about himself and the work he was doing. He is also pleased with the new skills that he learned such as changing the oil in his lawnmower and getting the word out about his business. In the future Caleb plans on exploring other entrepreneurial activities and continuing to work on building his personal brand.

Katie MacNeil

Fizz Bath Products


Katie MacNeil, along with her business partner Brooke, makes and sells various naturally sourced bath products. Their product selection includes bath bombs, body butter, and bath crumble. The pair intend to add more scents and products as they learn more about their customers’ interests. The pair can often be found selling their products at the Antigonish Farmers’ Market, Art Fair, and direct to the consumer through their Facebook page.

Fizz Bath Products was born when Katie and Brooke decided to make bath bombs and body butter for their 4-H demonstration. They decided to build on their original demonstration and make it their summer business activity as they thought it would be something neat to do over the summer months and allow them to learn more about running a business.

Katie didn’t really know what to expect when starting up her business – other than that she would have to make a product to sell. However, through trial and error and with the help of her partner and parents she learned about budgeting for supplies, organizing time, and how to better improve her product.

The most important skill Katie learned this summer was the importance of communication. Having good communication leads to a stronger partnership. A strong partnership will often lead to a good business.

Brooke MacDonald

Fizz Bath Products


Brooke MacDonald, along with her business partner Katie, makes and sells various naturally sourced bath products. Their product selection includes bath bombs, body butter, and bath crumble. The pair intend to add more scents and products as they learn more about their customers’ interests. The pair can often be found selling their products at the Antigonish Farmers’ Market, Art Fair, and direct to the consumer through their Facebook page.

While Brooke has had other jobs in the past, running a business for the summer was something very new to her. However, she found the transition to business owner to be quite valuable in that it taught her to be patient and wait for the return on her investment, to respond to consumer needs and preferences, and to find the best locations to sell their products. She also learned to improve the recipes used with her partner and to find the best source of ingredients.

Brooke, as well as her partner Katie, have found interacting with the public to be quite fun. It has taught them how to better sell their product to those walking by their table and to get out and attract attention. They have also had many fun and exciting interactions with members of the public as they explain their product and the many benefits it offers.

Overall Brooke greatly enjoyed working on her business this summer with her partner Katie and is very proud of the accomplishments that they made individually and together. She also enjoyed the ability transform raw ingredients into something that is used and enjoyed by many in her community.

Charlie MacDonald

Red Horse Treats & Antiques

Contact: (902) 872-0220

Charlie MacDonald operates a small shop in Ballantyne’s Cove selling home décor, antiques, and homemade goods. He has always had a passion for entrepreneurship and always dreamed of starting his own business. As Charlie lives in a popular tourist destination with other seasonal businesses, he felt the time was perfect to branch out and make his dream a reality.

Over the course of the summer Charlie was able to gain some additional independence by running his business and exceeded his initial expectations. Charlie notes that “Red Horse Treats and Antiques has allowed me to organize my own time and have given me the opportunity to display my creativity”. His business has also allowed him to build close connections with suppliers as well as the people who stop in to purchase his wares.

Charlie found that at times getting his operation up and running was a lengthy, and at times a complicated process. However, once he registered his business name and completed renovating his shop he was able to put his previous collecting and repairing experience to good use. Many people are surprised when they enter Red Horse Treats & Antiques and learn that it is run by a younger member of the community, but they are always impressed at Charlie’s initiative and willingness to continuously improve his set up, location, and product offering. Hopefully word of this exciting business will spread beyond Nova Scotia as many customers are from outside the region, coming as far away as Vancouver.

This young entrepreneur has also been surprised by the strong support he has received by his customers and the interest he has been getting and plans on staying open in the shoulder season. Charlie has plans to offer a Christmas themed selection in the year before taking some time off to prepare for next summer’s busy season.

Éabha Price

Coastal Crafts

Contact: (902) 870-4904

Éabha Price operates a small crafts business from her home in Antigonish County. Currently her main items are decorative photo-on-wood souvenirs. These photos depict beautiful locations in and around the Antigonish area or can be customized with the buyers own photo. Éabha is also planning on having the option for personal engravings to be made on the wood to make the product even more unique.

Many of the prospective customers Éabha has interacted with so far have been very supportive of her work and are very interested in the product and have asked many questions about her creative process. Éabha is very pleased with her accomplishments so far and hopes to continue building her business in the future to increase the value she is able to offer her customers.

You can learn more about Éabha’s work by contacting her at the information above. She also intends to sell at the Antigonish Farmers’ Market once she builds her inventory.

Nathaniel Smith

NAS Originals


Nathaniel Smith is the proud owner of NAS Originals, a small business devoted to “finding the new in the old”. Nathaniel offers a wide variety of goods to his customers including shelving units made from repurposed barn boards and railway hooks, welded sign holders, fish flies, and survival bracelets. He also offers a wide array of custom signage options and is always seeking new products to offer his growing clientele.

While Nathaniel had completed the Junior Achievement program in his school and had a basic understanding of business essentials he had yet to put his skills into motion and on his own. One of these new skills was getting out and speaking with his prospective clients and continuously improving his sales pitch to those who would stop buy his table at the Farmers’ Market and ask him questions about his product. He was also pleased to improve his welding skills and create new products through trial and error.

Customers have been very supportive of NAS Originals and are happy to see young people out in the community doing something that they really enjoy. As well, having items of his own handiwork in the homes of his customers and knowing that his work is being enjoyed by others makes Nathaniel very proud of his accomplishments.

Anna Ross

Treasure Box


Anna Ross has been very busy this summer making and selling doll scarfs. As the owner of Treasure Box she has learned many creative techniques for designing doll scarves that appeal to a wide audience.

Running a summer business was something very new to Anna, but she knew that she wanted to build on her previous sewing skills and promote the work that she already does as a hobby. She was happy to have the support of her parents along the way and benefited from their advice. Anna also liked being a part of the Summer Launch program as it helped to keep her motivated and on track knowing that she had regular check-ins to see how she was progressing.

Outside of her social media presence Anna hopes to find additional places to show and sell her product and get a larger customer base. Anna plans on continuing her business into the falls and hopes to put the time management skills she has learned over the summer to good use in broadening the selection of doll scarves she has to offer.

Student Reflects on Meaningful Work Experience with StFX Extension Innovation and Enterprise Centre

Jordan MacDonald completed an eight month work term with the StFX Extension Innovation and Enterprise Centre. He worked with the Centre from January to August, 2017.

Working with the StFX Extension Innovation and Enterprise Centre has been a deeply gratifying experience. Being in the entrepreneurship program at StFX I have always had an interest in the entrepreneurial ecosystem that assists individuals in realizing their business potential. I have also had a keen interest in community development and the benefits created when individuals come together and work toward a common cause. Working with StFX Extension allowed me to combine these two interests and view them as they play out in real life. I was able to work alongside deeply devoted innovators and community leaders and experience these two worlds.

While my official position with the Innovation and Enterprise Centre (IEC) was “Marketing, Communications, and Events Coordinator”, I was able to express my inner creativity and propose ideas for new initiatives and partnerships. For example, I developed and delivered the Summer Launch program, an initiative that provides a grant to students in grades 7-12 to start their own business in the summer months. I was also able to contribute to the design and coordination of the Leadership Development Conference and a broader partnership between StFX University and 4-H Nova Scotia. These two activities not only brought me out into the community, they also allowed me to explore my own entrepreneurial talents and practice the skills I learned in the classroom to effect real change in my surroundings.

This position also changed my perception of the Antigonish community and the employees of StFX. By working alongside community volunteers, I feel as though I have become more connected with the people of Antigonish and I feel more imbedded in the local community. As well, by working at StFX I have gained a better understanding of how diverse the campus really is and how many things go on behind the curtains – outside of a regular students’ perception.

Through my work at StFX Extension I have helped to increase the visibility of the Department’s various areas of expertise, most especially the Innovation and Enterprise Centre. I was surprised to learn just how many opportunities and programs exist at the Centre that allow students to generate ideas for social change or business ventures, provide meaningful learning opportunities, and connect students to the broader Antigonish community.

In a previous edition of this newsletter, Sam Gan and Mitch Allen remarked on their ability to operate a business in lieu of traditional work term. The Innovation and Enterprise Centre is working to provide an “Entrepreneurial” co-op experience in the coming semesters alongside the current marketing and events coordinator position. As well, the Centre is always available to consult with any StFX student or member of the public who is interested in starting or expanding their business.

The Extension Department is a fantastic environment to work in and I encourage all students to explore the many ways to get involved in its programming. This opportunity has deepened my interest in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and the social sector of the Maritimes.

Sandboxes Launch Innovation Bootcamps

The NS Sandboxes have launched two innovation bootcamps this summer to introduce post-secondary students to the innovation process and support the advancement of project ideas through an immersive, cross-disciplinary approach. The bootcamps focus on three primary practices necessary to successful innovation: Design Thinking, Lean Canvas, and Agile Project Management.

PHASE 1: Introduction to Innovation

The Introduction to Innovation Bootcamp that took place in May, 2017 at Acadia University. Three StFX students participated in this opportunity; Iker, Yash, and Laura.

Iker Zulbaran and Yash Chacoory

Mexico & Mauritius

Enrolled Diploma in Engineering

Iker and Yash are two international students studying at StFX University completing their Diploma in Engineering.

The pair of budding entrepreneurs experienced a great deal of personal growth and development as a result of their participation in Phase 1 of the Innovation BootCamp program. Iker and Yash changed their business idea several times throughout the program before deciding on a portable disinfectant device.

Following the program, Iker and Yash intend on developing their product further with the advice and support of the Innovation and Enterprise Centre.

PHASE 2: Project Incubation

The Project Incubation Bootcamp is aimed at teams of up to 3 participants who are in the process of developing projects—including teams with high-potential project ideas who have completed the Introduction to Innovation Bootcamp that took place in May. 24 teams have been accepted and the program will be delivered out of each sandbox across the province. The sandboxes are located at Acadia, CBU, Dalhousie (Computer Science, Engineering, and the Agricultural Campus), StFX, and SMU. Through the collaborative nature of the NS Sandbox program, students from MSVU, NSCAD, and NSCC are also participating in the bootcamp.

In week 1, teams worked with their sandbox managers to establish a project baseline that includes an evaluation of the strengths/weaknesses of their project and the founding team members based on their backgrounds, skills and experience; a thorough review of their existing lean canvas; and the creation/assessment of their financial models. This baseline assessment will help identify required areas of support for teams as they work with mentors/advisors throughout the program.

In weeks 2 through 12 teams will be required to dedicate one full day per week to participate, in-person, in activities out of their home sandbox. Students are then required to work a minimum of 14 additional hours throughout the week on their project idea in a flexible schedule. Participants are paid for their time, at a rate equivalent to having a co-op job for 50% of the time.

In the last week of the program, all student teams will come together for a final project presentation and demo of their project to bootcamp stakeholders, judges, and potential investors. Judges will evaluate each presentation based on specific evaluation criteria and the most promising teams/ideas will receive a financial investment from a pooled $50,000 fund.

The desired outcome of this program is to create a working MVP (Minimum Viable Product) or prototype that effectively demonstrates advancement of the project measured at the start of the bootcamp. The end result should be strong, well-balanced teams with realistic business plans and demonstrable products that are better positioned to become successful social enterprises or business start-ups founded in Nova Scotia.

Laura MacAulay

Ottawa, ON

BSc Human Kinetics ‘17

Enrolled BSc Human Nutrition

Laura will be developing a customizable retreat for corporate business owners to send their teams and individuals to ‘play’ in a meaningful way through guided expeditions and nutrition skill building as a bridge to tap into their body-mind-spirit connections. This business will offer and educational experience that builds a community of like-minded individuals to nourish them in a way that allows them to return to work and their everyday lives inspired to live with more meaning and connectivity.

Laura has always had a passion for leading others to an understanding of the importance of exercise and nutrition in order to develop a healthy and productive mind. After losing a friend to mental illness, and experiencing other instances of poor mental health, she has a heightened desire to reverse the increase prevalence of mental illness. Laura sets out to have a positive impact on those struggling to see clarity in life.

This past year Laura was enrolled in two courses; Life, Games, and Leadership and Entrepreneurial Practices in Nutrition. These courses allowed her entrepreneurial spirit to emerge while sport philosophy’s game theory solidified the groundwork to her own life philosophy. By combining this with her own life experience will provide a powerful program that will have meaningful influence on other people’s lives.

After completing Phase 1 of the Innovation Bootcamp program, Laura was accepted into Phase 2 to continue developing her business over an additional 12 weeks.  Laura very much enjoyed the two week residency at Acadia University.  This experience helped to hone in on the important stages of ideation and incubation and the ability to pivot one’s idea and address the many points of divergence and convergence.

Laura has enjoyed learning from experienced and inspirational leaders in the business world as well as the exposure to strong mentors.

Carson Murray

Pictou, NS

Enrolled Diploma in Engineering

Carson is an inventor, aspiring entrepreneur, and award winning engineering student who wants to grow his new venture idea into a full company. He is from Nova Scotia and before coming to StFX managed operations for regional and provincial sailing schools and leadership conferences. As part of the Innovation BootCamp, Carson will be further developing his company, Podeko ARS, which he began through the Wallace Family Internship in 2016.

Podeko ARS is an advanced recycling company; it takes single serving coffee pods and through a proprietary process turns them into enhanced bioreactor feedstock, 3D-printer filament, and recycled aluminum. Until now, this waste stream has not been able to be truly recycled.

The company’s few competitors either down-cycle them into non-recyclable products, or more often burns them in waste to energy plants. Keurig alone sends approximately 10,000,000,000 pods – and growing – to landfill annually. This Northern Nova Scotia venture’s objective is to be the primary diverter and recycler for this waste stream in Atlantic Canada. Eventually the firm plans on franchising the intellectual property of their process to other districts and countries as demand dictates. This technology can also use other available sources of coffee and plastic to continue producing filament and fertilizer in the event of supply instability.