The Entrepreneurship Hatchery  ☰ 

Brent Cator

As President and Owner of Cardinal Meat Specialists, Brent Cator leads a dedicated team
focused on being Canada’s leading burger and sealed environment cooked protein
manufacturer. Operating two plants with one in Mississauga, ON and the other in Brampton,
ON, Cardinal supplies top restaurateurs and major retailers with a range of meat and plant
based products, with an emphasis on quality, consistency, and food safety. Cardinal Meats has
been in business for over 80 years.
Brent is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario, where he earned his B.A. in
Administrative and Commercial Studies and furthered his education at the Wharton School of
Business and the Richard Ivey School (Leading Entrepreneurial Program).
Brent is a past-President of the North American Meat Processors (now North American Meat
Institute) and has actively been involved in the Canadian Association of Family Enterprise
(CAFÉ) for many years.
Giving back is a central part of he and his families beliefs. Brent has dedicated his time to
helping raise awareness and raise funds to send disabled kids to We Care Camps and supports
Trillium Health Partners through his foundation. Many organizations benefit through product and
event support ranging from CAMH, Camp Oochigeas to local police, Jumpstart and many more.

Daniel Eberhard

Toni Allen

Mark Freed

Mark Freed is the President and CEO of Genumark Promotional Merchandise Inc.. He has been the Chief Executive Officer of Genumark and its predecessor corporation for over 20 years. The pride of Windsor, Ontario, Mark’s earliest merchandising experiences were as a teenager working at his family’s department store, Freeds of Windsor. He is a graduate of University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall Law School and practiced law in Toronto for 10 years prior to returning to his merchandising roots. Under his leadership, Genumark has grown to become a leader in the branded corporate merchandise industry culminating with Genumark becoming the first branded distributor to be named as a Platinum member of one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies since 2011. Mark works diligently to instill Genumark’s customer first corporate culture and commitment to our community and charitable initiatives. The ASI (Advertising Specialties Institute of North America) named Mark as the 2010 Humanitarian of the Year and, in 2012, he was named Humanitarian of the Year by PPPC (Promotional Product Professionals of Canada). Most recently, Mark was recognized as one of the “Power 50” in a survey of the most influential leaders of the North American Promotional Products Industry in 2020.

Richard Reiner

Dr. Richard Reiner is a serial entrepreneur and company builder who is active as an executive, investor, advisor, and Board member. He is currently Executive Chair of dfuse Platform, a leading blockchain company; Executive Chair of, a speech AI company; and Chair of Cybeats, an IoT security company. He was previously Chief Technology Officer – Safe Identity, in Intel’s Security Group. He was President of PasswordBox, the leading digital identity company, leading up to the company’s acquisition by Intel. He was Chairman & CEO of Enomaly, a global leader in cloud computing, until Enomaly’s acquisition in 2011; and was the founder, CEO, and CTO of Assurent, a leading cybersecurity company, up to its acquisition in 2006.

He has served on the Boards and Advisory Boards of many leading cybersecurity, cloud, andmobile companies such as Immunio, Elliptic Technologies, Virima, CloudeAssurance, Veracode, NetClarity, Virima, and Fonolo. He is often quoted by the press, in media such as the New York Times, CBS, NBC, USAToday, TechCrunch, etc.. He holds a Ph.D. and numerous patents in cybersecurity.

Nuha Siddiqui

Nuha is the CEO & co-founder of Canadian based green-tech start-up EcoPackers Inc. EcoPackers Inc. transforms agricultural by-products into 100% plant based alternatives to traditional plastic inputs. Nuha founded the company while still completing her degree at the University of Toronto Rotman Commerce program where she specialized in Business & Environmental Economics. After graduation, Nuha pursued EcoPackers full-time, and scaled up her team & venture with Toronto based accelerators, raised over $7.1 Million within a year and launched global manufacturing pilots to help tackle the issue worldwide.

Raif Barbaros

Most of my career has been as founder or CTO of venture-backed startups in the Bay area, and Toronto, three of which were acquired and two reached millions of users. I’m a seven-time startup CTO, currently at BFS Capital, where our mission is to leverage advanced technology and data science to unlock exciting new financial products and services for underserved small businesses. Today, we provide working capital to customers in the US, Canada and the UK. But stay tuned … there is more to come. We are building a revolutionary product that will prove essential for small businesses to recover and resurge in the post-COVID economy.
Prior to that, I led the product, design, engineering, and customer success teams at Influitive, a late-stage B2B SaaS company whose customers include 8 of the world’s 10 largest software companies.
Before Influitive, I was part of the founding team at Loblaw Digital – the team responsible for digital and e-commerce at Canada’s largest retailer. I led engineering, data science, QA and support and built a team of 150 from the ground up. We grew the eCommerce business from zero to nine figures in four years by launching four distinct eCommerce and customer engagement platforms. I also had a tenure at a seed-stage VC firm in San Francisco, where I cut my teeth on the startup business and three very formative years at Deloitte as a management consultant. I have an MBA from UC Berkeley, a B.Sc.H. in Computer Science, and a B.Sc in Mathematics from Queen’s University.

Zaid Atto

Zaid Atto is an accomplished University of Toronto biomedical engineering graduate, Hatchery 2017 alum and inventor with medical research and device development experience. Having observed numerous surgical operations and having received training from accomplished medtech entrepreneurs and executives, he launched Xpan after extensive R&D and need validation from surgeons. Xpan is a surgical device startup/spinoff from UofT that is developing less invasive yet expandable surgical access ports that aim to increase the safety and efficiency of minimally invasive surgical procedures.

Carol Leaman

Carol Leaman is the CEO of Axonify Inc., a disruptor in the corporate learning space and innovator behind the world’s most modern Frontline Learning and Communications Platform.  Axonify delivers a unique 3-minute a day learning experience that combines brain science, adaptive microlearning, gamification and predictive analytics to increase employee knowledge and the performance necessary for achieving targeted business results. Prior to Axonify, Carol was the CEO of PostRank Inc., a social engagement analytics company that she sold to Google in June 2011. Previously, Carol held CEO positions at several other technology firms, including RSS Solutions and Fakespace Systems, both of which she sold to strategic acquirers. Carol is a frequent speaker, a regular contributor to Fortune magazine and a well-respected thought leader, whose articles appear in various learning, business and technology publications.  She brings her experience and insight to numerous not-for-profit and for-profit boards and has won multiple awards, including the Waterloo Region Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Intrepid Award (2011) and the Sarah Kirke Award (2010) for Canada’s leading female entrepreneur.

Steve Hennig

Steven Hennig is Senior Counsel with Shopify’s Commercial Group. This group of lawyers provides guidance and support to internal clients across most of Shopify’s global service and product lines. Throughout his career, Steven’s professional focus has been the intersection of technology and the law. Steven started his legal career in-house at a Canadian software company, and moved on to work as an associate in McCarthy Tétrault’s Technology and Outsourcing Group.

Carolyn Hicks

Women in Entrepreneurship


Carolyn Hicks is co-founder and CFO/COO of Brill Power – a battery technology start-up from Oxford University. She is a Professional Engineer with degrees in engineering (BASc, MASc; U of T) and business (MBA; University of Oxford). Prior to being an entrepreneur, Carolyn worked in engineering, transportation economics and infrastructure finance in Canada and the UK.  Outside of Brill Power, Carolyn is a Director for Oxford Mutual Aid and is a 2x Ironman finisher.

Katya Shteyn

Y Combinator

About Katya Shteyn: Katya Shteyn is the Co-Founder and CTO of Biorender, a software platform that powers scientific illustrations. Before Biorender Katya worked at Dropbox and graduated from University of Toronto with a BA in Computer Science.

Priya Vijayakumar

Women in Entrepreneurship

Priya has over 15 years of experience creating and implementing global product strategy in Fortune 100, mid-cap and start-ups. She has successfully built and commercialized highly technical hardware and software product solutions through direct sales & channel partners.  Priya was the VP of Product & Marketing at two IoT start-ups, Cloudleaf & AeroScout Industrial (acquired by Stanley Black & Decker).  Priya has also held multiple product and engineering leadership roles at GE Energy & Pratt & Whitney.  She has a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toronto and lives in San Francisco, CA.