News release

Students Recognized for Entrepreneurship

Nova Scotia students receiving the Minister’s Entrepreneurship Award of Excellence will also get a financial boost to help them start or grow their business.

The award, including $1,000 for each of the winning pitches, is presented annually to deserving students in grades 6 to 12 to recognize their business savvy.

“It is so important to foster an entrepreneurial mindset in our young people,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Becky Druhan. “It promotes critical thinking, improves focus and cultivates people skills – all assets in our evolving world of work and learning and what will help move our province forward.”

After submitting their ideas in one of three categories, eight finalists were selected to pitch their proposals to a panel of local entrepreneurs at an event Thursday, May 11, at Saint Mary’s University.

The 2023 winners are:

  • Charlotte Salley, École secondaire Mosaïque, social enterprise
  • Divjot Kalsi, Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School, technology
  • Emmett Mont, Keegan Atkins, Duncan Isbister, Henry Mont and Braeden Weaver, Rocky Lake Junior High School, environmental stewardship

Business plans were assessed on how realistic they are and how they could address a problem or create economic growth in Nova Scotia. Each application included a description of the product, service or idea; a market and needs analysis; a marketing plan; an inventory of competing businesses; a budget; and information on how the $1,000 grant would be used.

This year’s judges were:

  • Alfred Burgesson, founder and CEO, Tribe Network
  • Loretta Gould, Mi’kmaq artist
  • Edgar Samson, owner, Premium Seafoods Group
  • Chris Boulter, Executive Director, Education, Innovation, Programs and Services, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development


Congratulations to all of the students who participated in the Minister’s Entrepreneurship Award of Excellence 2023. I was impressed by the businesses the young entrepreneurs are pursuing, and it was great to see young Nova Scotians thinking creatively at such a young age. Good luck to all of the students on their entrepreneurship journey. Alfred Burgesson, founder and CEO, Tribe Network

All of the pitches were well thought out. It was hard to decide. Congrats to all the participants. Thank you for letting me be part of your journey. Mi'kmaq artist Loretta Gould

Winning today’s award will help me with the advancement of my small business. There are so many creative minds out there and it’s hard to compete with all of them, but if you just focus on yourself and you do the best that you can, you can get so much reward and success. This shows young people that they can go after those crazy dreams that they’ve always had. Charlotte Salley, award recipient, École secondaire Mosaïque

Today was a really good experience for showing us young entrepreneurs that when you sign up for things like this, there’s people out there who can really help you. I really enjoyed spending time with mentors at the entrepreneurial centre today. Duncan Isbister, award recipient, Rocky Lake Junior High School

Quick Facts:

  • since the award was launched in 2018, more than 60 students have participated, pitching 47 ideas
  • the Minister’s Entrepreneurship Award of Excellence is open to all students in grades six to 12 in Nova Scotia public schools; applications will open again in early 2024

Additional Resources:

Minister’s Entrepreneurship Award of Excellence: