RBC Future Launch Honorary Awards Announced by Venture for Canada

By Aleksandra (Ola) Mackiewicz
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Cliquez ici pour la version en francais.

Venture for Canada (VFC) and RBC are continuing a five year collaboration, as fifteen participants in the Venture for Canada Fellowship Program have been selected to receive the RBC Future Launch Venture for Canada Honorary Awards. The recipients of the award were nominated by their peers across the country. The awards are given exclusively to VFC Fellowship participants who are passionate about entrepreneurship. The recipients, who demonstrate exemplary leadership qualities, are focused on creating a more innovative and inclusive Canada.

Venture for Canada’s Founder and CEO, Scott Stirrett, noted that, “Each of these fifteen recipients think big, have a passion for action, and work to create initiatives that address challenges in Canada and around the world.”

Award recipients will receive a certificate acknowledging this achievement, a hand-picked business book to reflect the spirit of the award, and will attend an exclusive learning opportunity with representatives from RBC.

“RBC and Venture for Canada have a shared commitment to support youth to thrive in the age of disruption; we recognize that entrepreneurship is essential to enhancing the wellbeing of all Canadians, from coast to coast,” said Scott Stirrett.

In 2019, as part of RBC Future Launch, the RBC Foundation committed $300,000 in order to further the impact of VFC’s Fellowship Program. This investment will help VFC to enhance training offerings as well as enhance the peer connections between Fellows and Alumni. 

“A huge congratulations to all fifteen recipients of this year’s RBC Future Launch Honorary Awards,” said Mark Beckles, Senior Director, Youth Strategy & Innovation, RBC. “As we continue to navigate the complexities caused by COVID-19, entrepreneurial leadership skills have become more important than ever. Every solution starts with an innovative idea, and I can’t wait to see what ideas these young leaders bring forward to help improve our country and our world.” 

About Venture for Canada:

Venture for Canada is a national charity that accelerates the careers of Canadian youth by providing immersive learning opportunities at Canadian startups and small businesses. The Venture for Canada Fellowship Program accelerates the careers of recent post-secondary graduates by providing practical work experience at startups, access to strong peer networks, and entrepreneurial skills training.

This past month, 90 Venture for Canada Fellows participated in a three week virtual training camp. They will have extensive job support to find work with top Canadian startups and 15-months of ongoing entrepreneurial skills development. 

About RBC Future Launch:

RBC Future Launch is a decade-long, $500 million investment to help Canadian youth prepare for the jobs of tomorrow — RBC’s largest commitment to a social issue. With a focus on networking, skills development, practical work experience, and mental well-being support and services, the initiative aims to break down the barriers facing young people.

To learn more about RBC Future Launch, click here.

To learn more about the recipients, please find their biographies below.


Luke Taylor Scott

Luke graduated from Carleton University’s BIB Program – upon completion of Venture for Canada Fellowship Program in 2019, relocated to Vancouver, British Columbia. He is currently working as an Onboarding Specialist with CORVUM, a Voice over Internet Protocol company specializing in the Legaltech sector. Spending a majority of his days on the phone with lawyers, paralegals, and office managers, he does his best to reduce the burden of stress they face on a daily basis. 

He enjoys working at a tech-startup because it offers endless opportunities to solve problems – for both the company and the clients. The values that matter most to him as a leader include vulnerability, honesty, approachability, and curiosity. 

Luke describes vulnerability as a trait that breeds honesty, and the ability to admit that sometimes you don’t have all the answers. Approachability means the ability to always consider diverse perspectives, thoughts, and opinions – and allowing your curiosity to drive you to continue learning from those around you.


Fareeha Salahuddin 

Fareeha is an advocate for social entrepreneurship, with a focus on advancing innovation in biotech & cleantech. She has worked to bridge research and industry by establishing key strategic partnerships that accelerate the growth of up-and-coming technologies. She aspires to continue dedicating her future to working on challenges across healthcare and the environment, along with supporting philanthropic initiatives worldwide.

As a leader, some values she holds dear are trust, courage, and curiosity. Truly successful organizations champion leaders with the ability to cultivate an environment of trust. Courage is essential in inspiring others to appreciate new ideas and grow an original vision. She also believes it is vital to always stay curious, so that we can learn to understand this rapidly changing world.


David Oladejo

David is a graduate of Carleton University’s Bachelor of Engineering program with a minor in Business and is now leading Sales and Operations at Upsiide, a market research SaaS company. After VFC training camp, he went on to work at both Planswell (fintech) and StackAdapt (adtech) before starting his current role early in 2020. Outside of work, David is a huge basketball fanatic, avid audiobook listener, and is trying his best to improve his cooking.

As a leader, integrity is one of the most important values to David. Having strong principles, displaying honesty, and being committed to his word — these are ideals he embodies everyday, and this is a set of character traits he looks for in others with whom he interacts on a regular basis.


Rayhan Memon

After completing a degree in Biomedical Engineering and realizing that his dream of “becoming Iron Man” was a bit far-fetched, Rayhan joined a young, scrappy consulting firm. He now develops commercial strategies for mid-sized B2B companies. It’s difficult, challenging work – and he loves it all.

Since entering the workforce, he’s realized that you don’t need to be the leader, to be a leader. He’s also learned that the act of leading, certainly doesn’t have to take the form of loud speeches and long work weeks. To Rayhan, leadership is about identifying those with dreams that compliment your own…and then daydreaming together.


Brose Hagerman 

Brose studied finance, worked as a pyrotechnician, and now delivers world-class services to Fortune 500 companies at Loopio. His dedication to curiosity means he is constantly exploring and learning something new – right now, it’s how to code. He believes giving and applying honest feedback is the best way to grow- through radical candor. He practices accountability, knowing that his actions, and their outcomes, communicate more than words ever could.


Ushpreet Kaur Mehta 

A Commerce graduate from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University, Ushpreet’s education endeavors focused on strategy and project management. Through the Venture for Canada program, Ushpreet was able to find an exciting opportunity as a Project Coordinator at OneLocal – a budding startup geared to providing digital marketing services to small business owners. As a part of the Operations team, Ushpreet focuses a lot on change management, identifying gaps within processes as well improving the efficiency and overall employee experience. The ultimate goal in her day to day is to support the company’s growth. 

She hopes to merge her passion for entrepreneurship and community development to cause meaningful change within communities. With her own experience starting a venture and working at a startup accelerator, she is thrilled to be a part of the VFC community and enhance the entrepreneurial spirit amongst her generation. With so much more that can be learned, 

Ushpreet prides herself in being a lifelong learner. One of the values at OneLocal is ‘we’re always improving.’ Striving to always improve means to be transparent with your strengths and acknowledge what can be worked on. Most importantly, it means using those strengths to empower and help others. As a leader, seeing certain experiences as opportunities for improvement rather than as failures, enables everyone around you to also carry that energy forward.


Nyosha Valaei

Throughout her time at Ryerson University, Nyosha’s work experience came from a variety of internships. Having worked in marketing, sales, project management, and customer service positions- she didn’t know where to begin after graduation. 

Nyosha found a role through Venture for Canada that encompassed all of these areas. Now she works at PayBright as a Merchant Success Specialist, helping Small Businesses utilize payment plans to increase affordability for their customers. The best part about her job is that she is able to help hardworking business owners and entrepreneurs.

She relates to their tenacity, grit, and courage. She believes that the best leaders are those that extend empathy and kindness, not those who seek to control. To lead is to inspire, and for that it takes time to understand your team and see things from their point of view. Help them learn their strengths and weaknesses, and always assume that people are approaching situations with good intentions.


Nicole Plant

Nicole’s earliest jobs involved teaching children to swim and planning events for a non-profit. These experiences allowed her to discover that she wanted to pursue a career that would help people. Upon being introduced to social entrepreneurship, it became clear how she could combine my passion for community impact with her business acumen. However, she quickly realized how much is taught outside of the classroom, and that she needed to build out her skills “toolkit”.This led her to pursue a sales role upon graduation, as she knew that this was a foundational “tool” for any successful founder. 

As a leader, the values that are most important to Nicole are honesty, commitment, and execution. With so many opportunities and worthy causes to pursue in a digitally connected world, it can be hard to decide where you want to dedicate your time. She believes it is important to be honest with both yourself, and those that you are working with, about which initiatives you are most passionate about and to deliver a high-quality final project.


Dale Strickland

Dale has a thriving passion for expressing himself creatively through digital media. His hunger for novel experiences has led him to dabble in photography, graphic design, voice acting, and countless other creative endeavors. 

He started his career as an intern for the Army Learning Support Centre, where he used his graphic design skills to support the training needs of the Canadian Armed Forces. Following his experiences with Venture for Canada and CurrentWare, he now has an opportunity to build marketing skills that will add impact to his creative work Personal ownership, humility, and authenticity.

To Dale, leadership is about setting aside one’s ego, and instead focus on the greater good for the team. In moments of failure, he strives to take responsibility for everything in his sphere of influence by holding himself accountable for the moments where he could have stepped up to improve the outcome. In moments of success, he knows that “his” accomplishments are not truly his- they are only made possible by the valuable contributions of countless others.


Emma Logan

Emma is a proud Nova Scotian, born and raised. She is currently working for a Halifax-based tech startup, LifeRaft, as a Customer Success Manager. Outside of work, she is a competitive curler, a lover of the ocean and all things outdoors, and a hobby artist.

After her own experience growing up with hearing loss, she started an initiative called Hearing for All (www.hearingforall.ca), to recycle used hearing aids for those in need. A few of her core values as a leader are authenticity, integrity, and passion. Through her work, she is committed to staying true to herself and her values while being genuine, honest, and doing what’s best for the greater good. She believes in leading with passion, to inspire others to be passionate about their work as well.


Senewa Sena

Born and raised in Kenya to an entrepreneurial family, joining the family business has always been Senewa’s natural path. While growing up in Kenya, she helped around the family ranch quite a bit. She taught her the value of hard work, and of operating a self-owned business. 

Sena Farms is run by two women, (mother and daughter) who faced extreme adversity in a country where women are only valued as wives. The lessons gathered from her family business, along with their guidance, inspired her to migrate to Canada to gain more experience. Her passion to start a business and pave a road of her own aligned with Venture for Canada. Senewa believes that the key to good leadership is confidence, open-mindedness, patience, and purpose.

Emma Scott

Emma works as a Customer Success Representative at OpenWater, a Saas based platform that helps streamline application and review processes, along with helping organisations transition their brick and mortar conferences to virtual. She believes being a leader starts by putting action behind your words, standing up for what you believe in and amplifying the voices of the people around you.


Matthew Young

Matthew Young is a graduate from Nova Scotia Community College. He works at CacheFlo, a FinTech startup that helps people make smarter spending decisions. He works in customer success helping clients with whichever concerns that they have. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia and is interested in the future of work, as well as the future of leisure. The most important traits of leadership are to set a great example for everyone else and to be willing to listen.


William Forsey

William moved to Halifax last July and immediately began working with Talkatoo, a dictation software company built for veterinary professionals. Since joining the team, he has moved into the role of Marketing Manager, and sits on the leadership team. He feels fortunate to work alongside a team of bright and inspiring people. Their hard work and dedication are what drives him each and every day to be a better teammate. He sees being a great leader as being someone who always acts with integrity, puts their best effort forward, is humble,and  communicates effectively. William believes great leaders listen more than they speak, and they empower others to be their best selves.


Benjamin Tees

Ben has always had a passion for making connections, and most importantly, making people laugh and smile. He grew up in Bedford, Nova Scotia and now lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He attended Acadia University for a BBA majoring in Business Technology Management. During his time there, his summer work varied quite a bit. He co-owned and operated a landscaping company, was a Marketing Assistant and Project Coordinator for the Acadia Entrepreneurship Centre, and worked his last summer as a Sales and Tech associate for his family’s business.

Ben found VFC just before graduating in December 2018 and that led him to the position he currently holds – a Customer Experience Specialist at Spring Loaded Technology. He’s lucky in that he’s always been surrounded by good leaders. In those leaders, the values that are most important to Ben, are strong communication skills, confidence in what they’re doing, and being as transparent as possible. Most of his experiences have been in smaller organizations, but that’s what he’s loved most about his career thus far. Great leaders are able to share what their goals and challenges are, and they inspire the team to strive for success.


To hire an intern or recent grad for your scaling startup business, apply here. If you’re interested in being hired as an Intern, click here. Find the Fellowship Program application here.