Passion to Profit Community Den

April 27, 2018 @ 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm America/Toronto Timezone
TD Community Engagement Centre (Yorkgate Mall)
1 York Gate Blvd #209
North York, ON M3N 3A1

“Passion into Profit” is a joint collaboration between LaunchYU, Back 2 Basickz and funded by the York U TD Community Engagement Centre. The initiative is aimed at helping individuals who reside in The Jane and Finch Community obtain the skills and knowledge that they will need to become successful entrepreneurs.

Participants in this program have attended multiple workshops to learn the key essentials of launching and running a successful business.

Participants now have the opportunity to present their pitch to a "Community Den" of judges and audience members where their ideas will be examined. The two best business ideas will be selected based on business potential and will be awarded up to $1000 to help get their business started.


Sarah Howe- Director, Innovation York, York University

Sarah is a business development professional with extensive experience fostering innovation. Sarah joined York University in 2010 as the Associate Director, Intellectual Property & Research Agreements and became the Director, Innovation York in September, 2012. Prior to joining York, Sarah worked at The Hospital for Sick Children in contracts and business development. She has an MBA in technology and innovation management. In her present role, Sarah heads Innovation York, the innovation office for York University. As Director, Innovation York, she leads a team of fifteen; her responsibilities include the strategic direction and day to day management of the five service units: agreements, industry liaison, knowledge mobilization, commercialization, and entrepreneurship, as well as managing three startup accelerators on and off-campus and the strategic development of innovation and entrepreneurship activities across the campus.

Winston LaRose- Executive Director, Jane Finch Concerned Citizens Organization

Winston LaRose is the current executive Director of the Jane-Finch Concerned Citizens Organization - a position that he had occupied since 1999. JFCCO is a social advocacy organization that has made dramatic contributions and brought about significant change in the Jane-Finch since its founding in the year 1978. Under the leadership of Mr. LasRose AKA Mr. Jane and Finch, much recognition has been brought to the Jane-Finch in the presentation of the PANAM Games Torch Relay 2015 and the visionary project Jane-Finch Economic Community Initiative - JF-ECI. JFCCO intends to continue this strong leadership and mentoring role that it has provided for many children, youth, adults, and family over the past forty years.

Luis Mejicano- Community Service Coordinator, Toronto Community Housing

Luis Eduardo Mejicano has been a Youth Engagement Coordinator and Community Services Coordinator with Toronto Community Housing for over a decade. He is also the sole proprietor of One Mic Educators, an arts education enterprise established to engage racialized youth in inner city schools.

He was raised by a single mother and has been a refugee and immigrant in several countries. Over the years, Luis has been able to secure over $100 000 in grant funding for projects he personally executed and mentored hundreds of youth throughout the city.

Talisha Ramsaroop- Community Projects Coordinator, York University TD Engagement Center

Talisha Ramsaroop is a long time community resident, worker and developer. She has worked in the community serving sector for 7 years, in various organization including Social Planning Toronto, PEACH and York University. Talisha also just completed her Masters in sociology from York University focused on the community murals in the Jane Finch community and how youth use art as a form of resistance.  In 2015 Talisha was awarded the Sir Lincoln Alexander Community Award as well as the 100th North York Citation and the Urban Hero Award. She has also been featured in Canadian Living’s Top 40 Change Makers and recently did a Tedx talk about debunking stereotypes.

Michael Skaljin - Project Manager, Tower & Neighbourhood Revitalization Unit, Community Resources Section, City of Toronto

Michael Skaljin is a project management professional with experience in community development projects in areas such as housing, homelessness, reintegration of ex-offenders, community safety, gang-exit strategies, community health and wellness.  Michael has worked for the City of Toronto for 12 years and provided leadership for community development projects such as the Community Safety Secretariat and the management of the City's Community Crisis Response Program.  For nearly nine years, Michael has held a portfolio with the City's Tower Renewal Program including neighbourhood revitalization, community and tenant engagement, safety, employment and other projects focused on improving the quality of living for tenants of Toronto's apartment tower communities.