Enter the Den – Get Set for the Exciting Finals


Enter the DenTHUNDER BAY – On Wednesday, the top five finalists in the Enter the Den competition will present their business ideas to the panel of judges for selection as this year’s winner of the annual competition.

The route to the final five has been a long one. There were 161 entrants to this year’s competition from high schools across Thunder Bay.

The Enter the Den competition is the result of discussion among the staff, manager and directors of Thunder Bay Ventures about how to strengthen the entrepreneurial culture of Thunder Bay as it faces the ever-more competitive and international world of the 21t century. Changing the culture means getting parents and youth to open their minds to entrepreneurship as a possible career path.

Thunder Bay Ventures has supported youth and entrepreneurship for 28 years.

Gold Sponsors Northern Lights Credit Union discuss the finals in this video with Clara Butikofer from Thunder Bay Ventures:

Amanda Sauermann, the Project Coordinator with Thunder Bay Ventures sat down with each of the finalists.

Here along with that interview is a little background on each finalist:


Hafsa Siddiqui: Hafsa is a grade 10 student who is currently pursuing the International Baccalaureate diploma at Sir Winston Churchill CVI. She is an active student who partakes in many extracurricular activities, such as the Model United Nations, Senior Concert Band, and Envirothon. Her interests include biking, entrepreneurship, volunteering, and reading. She aspires to become an entrepreneur while pursuing a degree in the sciences.


Isaac Sauder: Isaac is a Grade 10 Hammarskold High School student who enjoys cycling, wrestling and photography. He also has a passion for the outdoors and spends his time canoeing, downhill and cross-country skiing, as well as camping. Last year, he received the Grade 9 male athlete of the year award and completed his bronze medallion in swimming. He has competed at the Ontario Winter Games for wrestling. Isaac is passionate about the environment and developing eco-friendly products and technology. It was his commitment to green living that led him to start his own recycled glass business iGLASS.


Phil Bystrican:
Is an iPhone, iPad, and Pod Touch app developer, who has been developing apps for over 2 years. He has worked on over 20 apps for numerous clients ranging from single developers, to international companies.

Phil’s business, Phil Bystrican Apps, focuses on creating intuitive and functional sports apps for the users of iOS devices. One of Phil’s most popular free apps is Pitch Counter Lite, which currently gets 50-100 downloads per day and has been featured in the “What’s Hot” section of the App Store. Last year, Phil established international business partners as he was hired to work on an app called United SA for a credit union based in Texas, USA.

When Phil is not working on apps, he is playing baseball, playing hockey, hanging out with friends, or playing the tenor saxophone. More information about Phil and his apps can be found on his website, www.PhilBystricanApps.com or can be obtained by contacting him by email at Phil@PhilBystricanApps.com.

Enter the Den Finalist John Golphy: John is a self-professed country boy who grew up on HWY 61 by Sturgeon Bay Road. Despite moving to the city when he was in Grade 7, John completed his primary education at Valley Central Elementary school. His passion for welding began at a very young age when he was able to go out to the shop and work alongside his grandfather.

Although he learned much of what he knows from his grandpa, he took his first welding class in grade 10 and he has continued to develop his trade. John has also actively developed his entrepreneurial spirit by taking high school business classes. Aside from his studies and his metal works business, John also works at Gammondale Farm and Moores, a position that has taught him how to dress to impress.


Enter the Den finalist Amanda Ingberg: Amanda is a Grade 12 student at Hammarskjöld High School who plans to study Recreational Therapy at Confederation College in the fall. Business is her favourite subject and over the years she has taken many different business classes including Media Studies, Entrepreneurship and Marketing. She first became interested in ‘Enter the Den’ while taking Entrepreneurship in first semester of Grade 12.

During her Entrepreneurship class she had to prepare a business plan. Since Amanda has a passion for rock climbing and Thunder Bay does not have an indoor climbing centre, she decided to combine her passion for business and rock climbing to create an innovative business venture: Thunder Climbing Centre. Rock climbing is a growing trend and the Thunder Climbing Centre will provide Thunder Bay residents with indoor rock climbing as well as rock climbing classes.

Tune in on Wednesday, May 23 at 1:30PM where live from Superior Collegiate you can watch Enter the Den.

Enter the Den Sponsors

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