September 26, 2020

BY CASSIE TULECKI

Waterloo played host to its newest investor, and dragon, Michael Wekerle at Wektoberfest.Michael_fire

The event, held Oct. 19, was a celebration of music and business in Waterloo Region.

“It’s more so about the networking, basically all of the prominent members of the tech and business community were invited,” said Courtney Cassel, a content strategist and developer for the event.

Wektoberfest was held in a former Blackberry building at 156 Columbia St. W. that Wekerle recently purchased to house start-up businesses such as Auvik Networks.

Earlier this year, Wekerle announced the launch of Waterloo Innovation Network (WIN) after expressing his interest in Waterloo because of its tech-minded focus. He has also acquired other buildings on Columbia Street which he plans on turning into a little technology village in the future.

“WIN is an adventure capital fund; it’s for tech companies and start-ups in the Waterloo Region,” said Cassel.

The event featured a live showing of Dragons’ Den with Wekerle and other VIP judges, some of whom were CBC producers of the show. Entrepreneurs pitched business ideas to the dragons as the public watched.

From 2 to 4 p.m. free hotdogs and hamburgers were served alongside music provided by a DJ. The event became a 19 plus event after 4 p.m. and included performances from various bands including 54-40. Canadian singer-songwriter, Kandle, was the special guest.

Mambella’s Café and food trucks from Gorilla Cheese and Schmuck Truck were also on location as was 129 Raw, an organic raw vegetarian vendor. The proceeds from the event went to the YWCA Kitchener-Waterloo.

“The YWCA is a women’s service. It’s the women’s version of the YMCA,” Cassel said.

“Mike wanted to support women’s and children’s shelters, and providing emergency shelters to women and children is one of the main services that the YWCA provides,” she said.

The event brought many tech- and business-oriented members of the community together, including staff from Blackberry who demonstrated their new Blackberry Passport. Blackberry also gave people the chance to win one of two Passports through a raffle. Participants could also enter a raffle for tickets to see Denton Daley, a World Boxing Association world cruiserweight contender, compete at the Hershey Centre in Toronto with Michael Wekerle.

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