Congratulations to the winners of the Youth for Entrepreneurship Media Contest, powered by Desjardins

29 February 2024 - by YMCA of Greater Toronto

On February 28, 2024, the YMCA of Greater Toronto hosted a special awards gala to celebrate the winners and participants of the Youth for Entrepreneurship (Y4E) Media Contest and Program. We had several notable attendees, including the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, 27th Governor General of Canada, our champions from Desjardins, and many young people who were contestants and participants to enthusiastically cheer on their peers.  

What is Youth for Entrepreneurship? 

The second annual Y4E program, powered by Desjardins, consists of a series of free workshops designed to empower young people with the practical knowledge and digital skills they need to start their business journey. 

The Y4E program was open to youth ages 15–24, and offered across Alberta, Ontario, and New Brunswick. 

An integral part of the program is the Y4E Media Contest. Youth aged 18–24 were invited to participate to raise awareness of youth entrepreneurship  and the resources available to support entrepreneurs in Canada. With a chance to win one of six award prizes between $200 and $1,000, a talented, creative pool of contestants crafted videos and posters encouraging young people to start their own businesses, and consider innovations for Climate Change. 

“Working with the youth for the Youth for Entrepreneurship (Y4E) Media Contest was an inspiring and rewarding experience. This opportunity not only celebrated creativity but also fostered a sense of entrepreneurship among young individuals. Witnessing their eagerness to learn and innovate was truly uplifting.”   – Monica Lim, Y4E Outreach Specialist. 

We’re thrilled to introduce the outstanding winners of this year’s Y4E Media Contest and their inspiring projects! Check out the winning videos and posters on our website

Winning videos 

First Prize | $1,000: Okolo Favour  

 “Creating content led me to this burning passion to embark on a long-term journey towards success, not just for me but youths out there. Seeing this opportunity was like an answer to my prayers, an opportunity to share my passion, move forward in my goal. I made the decision, envisioned it, got ideas from different places, scripted my ideas, wrote it down, then gave it to my friends and mentor to go through.” – Okolo Favour 

Second Prize | $700: Nebiyou Timotewos 

Third Prize | $400: Chiara Asal  


Winning posters 

First Prize | $500: Rose Talebi 

“The process of making the poster was lots of fun. I knew right off the bat that I wanted to play on the idea of entrepreneurship as a blueprint.  
When I heard about the contest and Y4E program, I was interested because I know learning more about entrepreneurship will be essential for my future career goals, and I hoped to learn a thing or two through participating- and I certainly did! Researching resources for my poster, I found lots of great opportunities for youth entrepreneurs and funding/programs out there.” – Rose Talebi

Second Prize | $300: Muad Aden 

Third Prize | $200: Jaheim Allwood 

“ We’re so grateful to Desjardins for powering our program. Thanks to its generous funding, which took Youth for Entrepreneurship programming to youth in three provinces (ON, AB, & NB), our friends at Desjardins made the program and tonight’s celebration possible for a second year in a row.” –Lesley Davidson, President and CEO, YMCA of Greater Toronto 

In addition to announcing the winners, the YMCA had booths showcasing a variety of our youth programs and services. Guests learned more about the programs' impact by talking with the reps and reviewing the program materials. Some of the programs presented were the Black Achievers Mentorship program, Youth Gambling Awareness program and the Youth Opioids Awareness program.  


Special thanks to our event speakers in order of appearance:  

  • Adela Colhon, Emcee, General Manager, Employment & Community, YMCA of Greater Toronto
  • Lesley Davidson, President and CEO, YMCA of Greater Toronto
  • Her Excellency and the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, 27th Governor General of Canada.
  • Billy Boucher, Chief Executive Officer, Desjardins Ontario Credit Union
  • Marilyn Horrick, SVP, Desjardins, Ontario Market
  • Nigel Lake, Member of the Youth Advisory Council, YMCA of Greater Toronto
  • Danica “Dizzy’ Ricamara, Guest Facilitator
  • Guest Speaker -Oliver Ritchie, Social Entrepreneur and Leader


To all young people growing their awareness and skills around entrepreneurship, we hope you continue investing in yourself and your future by joining some of the Y4E workshops co-created by the Y and Desjardins! 

We are so grateful to the following entrepreneurs and leaders who volunteered to judge the Y4E Media Contest:  


  • Mirela Pirlea, Lead Partnerships Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Desjardins 

  • Renee Beneteau, Vice President of Philanthropy, YMCA of Greater Toronto 

  • Laura Schlee, Director of Corporate Responsibility, EY Ripple 

  • Gina Patterson, Chief Programs Officer, Venture for Canada  

  • Melissa Allen, Executive Director, League of Innovators 

  • Tara Lapointe, Executive Director, Michaëlle Jean Foundation



Visit to find out more about our programs, services and charitable impact.


See the many ways to give to the Y and help build a brighter future.


Find child care programs that help children and families shine.


Stay healthy, active and connected at our health and fitness centres.


Explore camps and outdoor centres for fun, adventure, leadership, skills-building and more.


Get the job you want and brighten your career with help from Employment Services.


Settle in and light up your new life in the GTA with support from Immigrant Services.


Make new friends, hone new skills and find counselling at our Youth Programs.


Give back and shine on with rewarding YMCA Volunteer Opportunities.


Find out about our green initiatives and what we're doing to build resilience to climate change.


Light up learning at  YMCA Academy, a middle and high school for those who learn differently.