VodaSafe takes home the top prize at The Odlum Brown Forum Pitch Finale

MintList and Quil rounded out the suite of entirely Vancouver-based finalists.

From left to right, finalists Mehwish Panjwani and Kelly Thomson of Quil, Carlyn Loncaric of VodaSafe Inc, and Mehrsa Raeiszadeh of MintList. Photo: Jamie Lee Fuoco

The Forum, a national charity supporting women entrepreneurs, gathered its largest audience yet at The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver for its annual Odlum Brown pitch competition. While all three finalists MintList, Quil, and VodaSafe already took home a prize package of $37,000, the live pitch event and voting competition saw VodaSafe scoop an additional grand prize valued at $20,000.

“Being selected as a finalist in this year’s Odlum Brown Forum Pitch program is an honour and a game-changer for VodaSafe,” said Carlyn Loncaric, founder and CEO of the company. “The mentorship provided by Melanie Ewan — co-founder of Volition — and the access to community and capital provided by The Forum has been invaluable as we continue to transform water rescue to save lives and keep first-responders safe.”

From left to right: Paulina Cameron, CEO of The Forum, host Sonia Mangat, Carlyn Loncaric, Mehrsa Raeiszadeh, Mehwish Panjwani, and Kelly Thomson. Photo: Jamie Lee Fuoco

Seven months of programming provided by The Forum narrowed down the hundreds of applicants to three finalists. MintList co-founder and COO Mehrsa Raeiszadeh, alongside Quil co-founders Mehwish Panjwani and Kelly Thomson, all received finalist prize packages that included funds and coaching alongside legal, marketing, and social media services. These were largely supported by title sponsor Odlum Brown, alongside capital sponsor Wheaton Precious Metals, as well as a suite of community partners including Amazon Web Services, Jelly Academy, and Talk Shop Media.

Over 800 attendees from The Forum’s network of investors, entrepreneurs, government staff, and community members turned out for the evening’s festivities. The finale not only saw the celebration of the finalists, but also featured an entrepreneur showcase of women-owned businesses, including last year’s pitch finale winner, Pocketed.

Paulina Cameron, CEO of The Forum. Photo: Jamie Lee Fuoco

The event was also The Forum’s largest fundraiser. While the evening was generously supported by a number of sponsors, the national charity also raised over $861,000 throughout the course of the event. Auctioneer Harry Santa-Olalla championed items including a private yoga retreat, a trip to Tuscany, and one-time donations to The Forum.

“We congratulate the recipients and all participants of this year’s Odlum Brown Forum Pitch program as we continue to raise the bar for what it means to invest in women entrepreneurs today,” said Paulina Cameron, CEO of The Forum.

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