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CYBF and the Entrepreneur Centre celebrates the business start-up of Ecobus

Event date: Tuesday, July 23, 2013, at 12:02 PM

July 23, 2013 – The Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF), in collaboration with the Thunder Bay & District Entrepreneur Centre (EC), is pleased to announce the business start-up of the Ecobus. After much planning and support from the community and organizations like CYBF and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), entrepreneur Catherine (Cat) Leonard acquired a bus last week and is in the process of converting it to a mobile renewable energy education centre.

The Ecobus is a small, locally run environmental and renewable energy education service operated out of Thunder Bay, Ontario. The Ecobus was created to bridge the gap in field trip opportunities and environmental education for students in Northwestern Ontario. Cat Leonard, a local teacher, developed the concept of a travelling science and outdoor education centre that would challenge students to explore their own backyards while leaning about alternative solutions to current environmental challenges. The bus is unique in that it contains an onboard lab and demonstration space, uses waste vegetable oil as fuel, and runs on solar and wind generated power.

“CYBF’s support was a big part of making my dream of creating the Ecobus a reality,” said Cat. “CYBF made getting a business loan easy and the mentoring that I have received continues to be a valuable resource. I am excited to get the Ecobus on the road and make field trips more accessible to communities in Northwestern Ontario. I'm looking forward to interacting with students and challenging them to think about alternative solutions to current environmental issues."

The Ecobus will be on the road and offering programs to schools and community groups across Northwestern Ontario in October 2013. Learn more about the Ecobus at

Senior Director for CYBF Ontario, Scott Bowman, came to Thunder Bay on July 22 and 23 to congratulate Cat on her venture. Scott also met with various community partners, to discuss the CYBF program, including: the Business Development Bank of Canada, SHIFT Young Professionals Network, Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre, PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise, Thunder Bay Ventures and the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce.
Scott also spoke to young entrepreneurs at a Lunch and Learn workshop held at the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) boardroom today to educate them on the CYBF program and to invite them to apply for financial support to start their business.

Scott stated, “The Entrepreneur Centre (EC) is a valuable asset in the Thunder Bay District. Together with their support, we are happy to continue encouraging young individuals to consider entrepreneurship opportunity right here at home, and are very proud to call the EC our community partner. We would like to congratulate Catherine on her ingenuity, creativity and perseverance and look forward to celebrating her success.”

About CEDC:
The CEDC is responsible for business development, retention and expansion, entrepreneurial support, opportunity promotion, and the collection and assessment of key business data. The CEDC receives formal proposals for projects that will contribute to economic development. It responds quickly to new opportunities and initiatives to attract direct financial involvement from government and private sectors.

Located within CEDC’s administrative office, the Thunder Bay & District Entrepreneur Centre provides seminars, workshops and free, confidential business counselling services to new and existing small businesses.
For more information, visit

About the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF):
The Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to growing our nation’s economy one young entrepreneur at a time. We look at character, not collateral, when providing youth aged 18-39 with pre-launch coaching, business resources, start-up financing and mentoring to help them launch and sustain a successful entrepreneurial business. CYBF has been recognized as a global leader in advancing youth entrepreneurship, is a founding member of the global G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance (G20 YEA), the Canadian member of the Prince’s Youth Business International, and the Canadian Host of Global Entrepreneurship Week (November 18-24, 2013).

Established in 1996, CYBF has invested in more than 5,600 young and emerging entrepreneurs across Canada, whose businesses have created over 23,000 new jobs, $163.6 million in tax revenue and hundreds of millions of dollars in sales and export revenue. CYBF delivers its program coast-to-coast through a national network of 186 community partners and more than 4,550 volunteers including business mentors. Information about CYBF is available at

For further information, please contact Stacia Kean, Development Officer, Thunder Bay & District Entrepreneur Centre - CEDC, at 625-3972 or by email at