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Support Seneca

Jacob Pucar, Arbana Miftari, Lindsay James, Anand Karat

May 14, 2020

New coffee retailer Arkaika has a company name that stems from the word “archaic” — in reference to prehistoric times. However, the founders behind the brand are forward-thinking and aim to be one of the largest coffee retailers in the market. Thanks to a recent financial contribution from Vretta, a local education technology company, Arkaika can do just that.

Developed by four Columbians living in Toronto, Arkaika was brought to HELIX, Seneca’s on-campus incubator and accelerator, and turned into a brand that aims to unite people with a passion for coffee and community. It is just one of 127 ventures pitched into HELIX that was supported by Vretta.

The recent funding from Vretta was used to provide free, cross-disciplinary, entrepreneurial supports to more than 250 aspiring entrepreneurs, allowing them to build, launch and scale ventures. It also provided tools for students aspiring to become intrapreneurs and innovate.

Having received support from HELIX, the founders of Arkaika are now giving back, themselves. The brand’s ethical buying process helps support farmers in Colombia and — through sales of their ground and whole bean coffee — they are able to contribute to Canadian causes like Seneca’s Campaign for Students.

“Arkaika’s experience with HELIX has been fundamental in the company’s growth and development,” said Diego Romero, Co-Founder of Arkaika. “From helping us to give the proper direction to our business up to sponsoring our first public event in the 2019 Coffee and Tea Expo, HELIX has been our strongest partnership and best support in Canada.”

Today, support from Vretta continues even during COVID-19. Due to economic changes and stresses that HELIXers are facing, having entrepreneurial numeracy skills is essential. As part of its ongoing partnership with HELIX, Vretta is developing the Entrepreneurial Numeracy Skills platform, which focuses on the financial skills required to start and run a business, such as managing cash flow, credit and loan management, interest rates and taxes.

“Supporting students, especially those who may have been affected by the current pandemic, is a high priority of ours,” said Anand Karat, President of Vretta. “Our aim for the platform we are developing in partnership with Seneca HELIX is to strengthen the financial numeracy skills required for students to be successful in their ventures as entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs at organizations.”

The platform will also help identify skills gaps and suggest opportunities for students to upgrade their skills. There will also be opportunities for applied research projects for the evolution of the platform to support the growing requirement for entrepreneurs in our province and country.

To learn more about how you can support projects at HELIX, contact advancement@senecacollege.ca.