Do you have a small that you think has the power to become this year’s next best thing? Let us guess, you’ve got the idea, you’ve got the name, and you’ve got your imagination. The only things holding you back are the money and resources, like most young entrepreneurs.
This year, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) invites business dreamers to apply for a shot at turning their vision into a reality. If you’re between the ages of 18 and 35, and think that its time kick start your path to success, an opportunity at the BDC’s Young Entrepreneur Award of $100,000 might just be the answer for you and your small business.
Here’s why you should apply for the Business Development Bank of Canada’s $100,000 Young Entrepreneur Award:
1. Your Name Everywhere
BDC will take you and your venture to a whole new level. Through experience and extensive tools, this $100,000 grant won’t just kick start your company. It’ll expose your vision on a national level.
2. Stop Crawling, Start Walking
BDC knows everything necessary to kick start a small business. Participation in a prominent national contest will surely improve your professional résumé and increase your awareness of business opportunities. Being an award-winning company or even a finalist can foster trust and credibility straight away.
3. It’s All About Who You Know
Starting your own venture can be hard, especially on your own. Participating in a national contest will expose you to all the right people who have all the right answers.
4. Make Your Light bulb Shine Brighter
BDC’s here to help. While young entrepreneurs often think they’ve got all the knowledge necessary to build their business, BDC will teach you more than you already know. The application process on its own will teach you to strategically analyze your strengths and opportunities. Even if you’re unsure about the end results, we suggest you fill out the application that’ll truly help you assess your venture’s prospects.
Kais Latiri likens himself to a Galileo of immersive sex. "People are afraid of novelty, of innovation, of something new they're not used to," he said. "Take for example Galileo who said the Earth [went around the sun].* He was imprisoned for that."
This article contains graphic content that might not be suitable for some readers.
That's why when Le Journal de Montréal said Latiri was running a "brothel" out of a Longueuil home, the accountant-turned-tech entrepreneur took issue.
"It's not a brothel," he said. "That's not the right word at all.
He called it a salle de jeux pour adultes — "playroom for adults."
It's clear to see why. The sex workers aren't humans: they're dolls.
Latiri, the owner and founder of Oh My Doll, has insisted his business is not an outrage, but a triumph of love and science.
After years of developing advanced virtual reality technology, he said his company allows customers to indulge in their wildest fantasies, all from the comfort of a South Shore apartment building.
In an interview with MTL Blog, Latiri opened up about the ins and outs of his business and what all this means for the future of romance.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Virtual reality sex is not cheating, he says
We live in a world where rapid advances in virtual reality and robotics are going to have a profound impact on both human-to-human and human-to-robot relations, said Latiri.
When he started testing virtual reality in 2018, its quality wasn't very good, he continued. But Latiri realized the experience could develop with time and the release of new "hardware."
"I was at the beginning of the wave."
Instead of viewing an adult scene like in old-fashioned pornography, silicone escorts and virtual reality systems — that simulate the senses of sight, touch, hearing, and even smell — allow Latiri's customers to feel like they're having actual sexual encounters, he said.
Can ladies, couples, and LGBTQ2S+ people get in on the action? You betcha, said Latiri, thanks to an array of male sex dolls and "f*ck machines."
"We have experiences for anyone 18 plus, of course," he continued.
Not everyone is happy with the sex dolls
And yes, the dolls are cleaned between uses.
"In terms of hygiene, our escorts are immediately cleaned after a service," states the website.
"You will see for yourself the hygiene measures put in place. The complete maintenance is done by handing it over to our maintenance staff in our appropriately equipped premises. After maintenance, our silicone escorts are left to rest for at least 24 hours."
With packages costing a few hundred dollars, the Oh My Doll experience is far from cheap but a brand-new doll can cost upwards of $2,000, said Latiri.
Not everyone's happy with the sex dolls.
In an online review of the site, one commenter who identified themselves as "Escort the real one" stated, "Never will you replace us, bastards. We're true skin and bones escorts and we give our clients real love."
And with automation already eliminating millions of jobs around the world, are robots poised to eliminate human sex workers?
Latiri doesn't think so.
"If they love their work and if they have passion, I totally respect that," he said. "And in my mind, it's not like we're here to replace them, that's not the point."
As many of his clients are in committed relationships, Latiri said he hopes Oh My Doll will eliminate infidelity.
"My mission is based on people who are in couples because those people, instead of going to see an escort, they have an alternative that's more ethical," he said.
"And at the moral level, they won't be guilty when they return to their partner compared to if they would see an escort."
Then there are Latiri's religious customers looking to overcome crippling sexual shame and as they struggle with their desires.
"You'd be surprised that there are a lot of religious people," he said. "They come to us with their religious dress and I'm happy that they come, I'm happy that they express their desires. It's really touching."
'Dolls will never replace humans, not today, not tomorrow'
According to information obtained by Le Journal de Montréal, Oh My Doll has been running out of a residential building without a proper permit, but Latiri is punching back, claiming the business is primarily for research and development purposes.
"With all the hubbub that's been created, I don't regret anything, not a thing," he said. "Because I know it's helped me develop the experience and the technology."
He hopes to expand his business by opening "in every city where the need is present."
A spokesperson for the Longueuil police stated that "it is not criminal in Canada to own a sex doll representing an adult person," and that they've looked into Latiri's operations "and have not found any criminal-related activities."
Latiri said he has contacted the owner of the building and said he would move his business if asked.
"The second they want me to get out I'm ready," he said. "It's not about pressure, it's about being good neighbours because they got caught up in this circus."
But whether you think the idea is strange, enticing, or off-putting, Latiri acknowledged it's raising some tantalizing questions.
For example, in a world where ever-more-advanced virtual technology provides better visuals, touch feedback and maybe even artificial intelligence, what's going to happen to old-fashioned human romance, relationships, and sex?
"I'm against the fictitious idea that proposes the dolls are going to evolve and that's going to create a societal problem. The dolls for us are just sex toys," he said.
"When I'm looking into the future of the sex dolls with artificial intelligence where she can move by herself, honestly, I'm not in favour of that."
"Dolls will never replace humans, not today, not tomorrow."
The front window of Rooney ended up "getting smashed" by rioters around 9 p.m., Danino told MTL Blog.
Such led the store owner to ask: "Do [they] think going around smashing small businesses is going to make the premier of Quebec wake up the next day and say 'oh, they smashed the windows of a couple of stores in Old Montreal, I should probably just forget about this whole lockdown situation?' It's not exactly logical."
"I get it, you're annoyed. But to go around and smash windows of businesses that are already struggling, some barely hanging on, it seems kind of silly," he continued.
Danino confirmed the store will be able to continue to operate and the broken window has been boarded up until it can be fixed.
The owner told us no one was able to fully get inside the store, but could reach their arms in through the window. Danino said some clothes were stolen from a rack as well as everything in the window display.
How does the owner of Rooney, Alex Danino, feel about what happened?
Danino said this incident affects his business in two ways.
"In a positive way, people are being extremely supportive. That's really just such a good feeling, to know that there are people out there who feeling strongly about our business and want to see us come out of this in a good way."
The negative side is that Danino estimates the damages could cost up to $12,000.
"We're just struggling to continue and get through. We're all kind of just trying to get to the other side. This just adds a bit of unnecessary frustration," the owner of Rooney explained.
"It's a bummer to add to a situation that's already a massive bummer. It's not cool to see this kind of thing happen."
Now, Danino just hopes something like this doesn't happen to his store or any other business around him again — since another anti-curfew protest is planned for April 12, in the same place as the last one.
The pricing is based on the daily average of gas for the Montreal area. As usual, some gas stations might be lower and some might be higher, but the company claims it's "always within the range of local gas stations."
There's also a promotional price of $0.99 per month as a membership fee for the first year, with the first month being a free trial, making this a great time to test out this cool business.
Podcasts have become a worldwide sensation, especially over the past few years. So if you're into supporting local, why not try listening to some podcasts by Montrealers? There's more out there than you probably know!
With so many insightful shows out there, there's no reason for you not to spend a few hours a week listening to them.
Since we already know that Montreal is full of talent, it wasn't too surprising to find out that our city also has some great podcasts to discover.
The ones on this list touch on all kinds of subjects, and we promise you won't regret listening to them all.
Why You Need To Listen: During this podcast, host Amber Carlsson sets out to "rehumanize the very real experience of crime" by discussing the criminal justice system in Canada. Throughout the episodes, you'll be able to hear different individuals discuss their experiences with the system.
Why You Need To Listen: If you're a Habs fan, then this one's the podcast for you. Hosts Beth, Dave and Veronica talk about the beloved Montreal Canadiens and all of the positive things that are going on with the team.
Why You Need To Listen: Listening to this podcast feels like you're chatting with your close friends. Hosts Sarah and Candy discuss everything from personal development to relationship advice and often have special guests come in and discuss their topics with them.
Why You Need To Listen: Leanna and Jacklyn Heffer are twins, influencers, moms and business owners. Born and raised in Montreal, this duo opens up on every podcast about real-life topics that are sure to keep you entertained.
Every episode will give you a behind the scenes look into their lives, social media business, life as social media influencers, and our journey as first-time moms.
Why You Need To Listen: This local podcast run by blogger @sisimaamari is one of those podcasts that's totally unfiltered. Subjects like self-love, relationships, and business are all covered — nothing is left out.
And, as Sisi spills the tea, you can sip on her tea since this local boss babe also owns her own tea company.
Why You Need To Listen: The podcast's descriptions read "in a world that teaches us that strength is loud, harsh and masculine, this is a place for those of us whose struggle is both impossibly large and rebelliously tiny."
Each episode focuses on a question, which Ambivalently Yours discusses with a new individual. And, each episode is almost guaranteed to evoke emotion.