uSask recognizes young entrepreneurs at 12th annual Haddock Entrepreneurial Speaker Series

Natasha Katchuk

Cassidy Evans’ favorite thing about being a young entrepreneur is “being able to come up with ideas and see them come to life in her business.”

When she came up with an idea for a lemonade stand in 2012, Cassidy never dreamed it would turn into a Lemonade truck that she could take to events in the community.

Today, the 9-year-old is the owner of Cassidy’s Lemonade Stand which raises funds to help find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis.

She is also one of the inaugural recipients of the Get a Bigger Wagon Young Entrepreneur Awards which were held as part of the 12th Annual Gordon and Maureen Haddock Entrepreneurial Speaker Series earlier this month at the Edwards School of Business.

Young entrepreneurs aged 7 to 15 with an existing business were encouraged to enter for a chance to win a cash prize. The application process required submission of a two-minute video and a basic profit and loss summary of the business.

Cassidy said she entered the competition after she heard about it from a friend of her mom’s and plans to invest the cash directly back into growing her business.

“I will be using the prize money to purchase a new beverage dispensing system for my lemonade truck and finish the renovation on the interior of the truck,” shared Cassidy.

Adding the Get a Bigger Wagon Awards was a natural evolution to the annual speaker series and the Haddocks attribute the idea to Gordon’s upbringing, which allowed his entrepreneurial spirit to develop from a young age.

The husband and wife team started the Haddock Entrepreneurial Speaker Series at the Edwards School of Business with the aim of exposing students, faculty, staff and the entire community to entrepreneurship.

“Entrepreneurship can change the way we think, live and work,” said Gordon Haddock. “The aim of the Get a Bigger Wagon Young Entrepreneur Awards is to encourage and reward young entrepreneurs with cash prizes for starting a business.”

“We thought it would be fun to have the youngest entrepreneurs in the same room learning together from seasoned entrepreneurs,” said Maureen Haddock. “Each of the stories they share offers a look at the pivotal moments in their journey and encourages entrepreneurship.”

“Exposing students through the speaker series highlights the common traits that entrepreneurs have,” added Gordon. “We hope to inspire more people to have some fun and start their own business.”

With these qualities in mind, Saskatchewan success story and uSask alumnus, Duane Smith, was selected as the 2019 guest speaker.

Smith is the former CEO of JayDee AgTech, and he shared lessons with students, faculty and community members from his early days as an entrepreneur to selling his award-winning company to the Jim Pattison Group.

He got an early introduction to entrepreneurship when he took over his grandfather’s chicken business at the age of 12. He increased the number of laying hens and added broilers for roasting birds until he graduated high school. In 1987 he completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Saskatchewan.

Smith then went on to help grow JayDee AgTech to become the largest privately held John Deere Company in Western Canada, which was later recognized with the 2011 North American Dealer’s award.

Looking back on his journey, Smith said his personal takeaways were giving back, recognizing the important role of family along the way and continuing to be strategic after being in business.

As for the business perspective, Smith explained that managing a team and coordinating people resources are the toughest parts.

“You can’t achieve JayDee AgTech’s growth or similar growth in another business without having the right business partners,” said Smith. “Communication and shared vision are important. You don't need to get into the details; it's the people you need to manage and achieve the results through.”

The event concluded with a Q&A session, and the much-anticipated results of the 2018 Get a Bigger Wagon Young Entrepreneur Awards:

Children from 13 to 15:

The Sesula Mineral and Gem Museum
Judah Tyreman ($1000.00)


Children from 13 to 15:

The Grass Barbers 
Smith Boutin, Ethan Pierce, Hudson Boutin ($1000.00)

grass barbers
Children from 10 to 12: 
Cassidy’s Lemonade Stand
Cassidy Evans ($750.00)
Children from 7 to 9:
Lemonade Stand 
Elina Case, Lennon Case, Claire Rodriguez ($500.00)

Thank you to Gordon and Maureen Haddock for making this event possible.

Watch the full video on the Get a Bigger Wagon Young Entrepreneur Awards here 

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