13:54 PM

Recent grads start an entrepreneurial escapade

Two recent graduates of Mohawk College Small Business and Entrepreneurship program wasted no time charting a career path forward.

Dwitney Bethel and Amber Bisson pitched for a new business idea at the Women Entrepreneurship 2019 Quick Pitch competition on June 24. And won.

Their new idea, Urban Escapade, is an urban scavenger hunt experience that promotes green tourism in Hamilton by meshing retail, heritage, history, culture and food with an interactive website and an augmented reality app. Their pitch won them $1000 start-up support, six-month access to CoMotion work space, a mentoring session and accounting sessions with the Business Development Bank of Canada.

“Our pitch idea actually came about last year for Amber's 25th birthday,” says Bethel. “I wanted to do a few of our summer bucket list activities, but I couldn't really narrow it down. I have always been an avid fan of shows such as Amazing Race, Fear Factor, Survivor, etc. So, I thought, ‘why not just make an adventure out of it instead?’ So, I designed a two-day Amazing Race adventure for her, starting from Hamilton GO to the CN Tower in Toronto.”

Urban Escapade combines the elements of a walking tour and an escape room, with a unique digital scavenging game that takes you around the city to do silly tasks and see the sights using an app on your smartphone. These sites could range from museums, restaurants and historical markers to sculptures and other important landmarks of the city. Urban Escapade arranges various game and events for urban adventurers to explore a “bite sized” version of the best of a city with friends and family.

“The business will start off simply, creating customized packages and events for groups as an online home business through our prototype app,” Bethel explains. “The next phase will eventually expand towards a full version of our augmented reality app. It will be a Pokemon Go-like scavenger hunt game, featuring avatars with local brand-named accessories, virtual icons, badges and landmarks of Hamilton and immersive augmented experiences of Hamilton's famous buildings, people and heritage.”

The partners will focus on Hamilton to start and incorporate other regional cities independently as the business grows.