Where we started
In winter of 2016, we were all selected for a program called Technovation. Technovation is a worldwide program with the goal of teaching young women about entrepreneurship and computer programming. At the end of the program, each group will have created a mobile application-based business which solves a problem in our local community. The three of us – Andrea, Jenny H, and Jenny S – all applied individually and were put in a group together with two other girls.
We created the idea for Connectsitter, which would eventually become SitterNextDoor. We saw a need in people who were having trouble finding a babysitter for their children. This was based on struggles that Andrea’s mom faced with finding a babysitter from her own neighbourhood for her three children. The problem persists even today – many people resort to posting ads on their social media, needing a babysitter on short notice. We also know that there are teenagers looking for work experience but don’t have time to commit to a part time job. We want to give them the opportunity to gain experience and skills by becoming a babysitter on our platform.
Throughout the 12 weeks of the program, we worked on creating business plan, revenue model, and even developed a basic but functional prototype of the app. All of this was with the help of an amazing mentor, Palvashah!
We spent many hours (and admittedly, a few late nights), and our hard work paid off when we won the Ottawa-wide Technovation competition! With our win, we were humbled to be featured in the Ottawa Business Journal and the US Embassy’s website.
After winning the Technovation competition, we wanted to take our idea beyond the length of the program. This was due to the positive feedback we received while going through the program from parents and from potential babysitters. Many people are very excited for us to launch. A month before the end of the program, in March 2016, Jenny Hua went to a entrepreneurial camp and pitched in the Mock Dragons Den Pitch Competition run by Hatch and won the competition.
She was then invited along with the rest us to pitch at the incubator program at Lead to Win. We pitched our idea for Connectsitter in June when we were accepted into the incubator. We worked with Lead to Win throughout the summer and gained so much experience and learned about how to run our business.
In June 2016, we were also invited to pitch at the 2016 Canadian SaaS Showcase, run by L-Spark. This was our first networking event as entrepreneurs, and we were so excited to be a part of this fast-paced world and to make new connections with like-minded individuals.
Where we are now
All in our senior year of high school, we balance working on our company with school. We are currently in the development stage. We have been developing new ideas since our initial product from Technovation, including a new design and new features; which we are excited to share!
We plan to have our platform launched at the Glebe Garage Sale in May!
SitterNextDoor strives to help parents who are having trouble finding a reliable babysitter, and to help teenagers who need an introduction to the working environment but who don’t have the time to commit to a part time job. Our solution to these problems is SitterNextDoor, a platform designed to virtually connect parents and babysitters who live in the same neighbourhood. This idea won the Ottawa wide Technovation challenge in Ottawa 2016 and was incorporated that October. Following the competition, we were accepted into, and worked at, Carleton University’s Lead To Win accelerator program for ventures over the summer of 2016. Currently, SitterNextDoor is working with Invest Ottawa!
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