Modern Alchemy, a playroom for grown ups wins the first annual Cubs’ Lair

Photo by Samantha Moss

Deanna Henry, founder of Modern Alchemy, took home the winning prize at the first annual Cubs’ Lair entrepreneurship competition. Kawartha Artists, Artisan online (a platform to share stories and creations), and Royal Hydrographics (a custom water transfer printing business for Auto) were declared the runner-ups.

Of the five finalists present, the other two great ideas presented were by Symbi H2O, a water-resource management platform, and Zatiq, a local information- and ride-sharing application.

“A gym membership for the soul” is how Henry describes her Modern Alchemy. It is a playroom for grownups. The service (yet to open in Peterborough) based on science is for anyone who wants to improve their lives.

Henry started off her pitch to the judges by asking, “Why do we accept that playtime is exclusive to kids? And why are we conditioned to believe that the more we work, the more we’ll succeed?”

According to Henry, people think that play is unproductive, the opposite of work. But it is not, as she pointed out that the opposite of play is depression.

She justified her business plan by saying that play is supplemental for the well being of everyone, no matter the age. It’s an excellent way to relieve stress, boost creativity, improve brain function, and strengthen relationships, she explained.

Modern Alchemy is envisioned to inspire and bring out in her clients that “FEEL GOOD” state by furnishing a welcoming, positive space, filled with all sorts of fun, creative, and playful things for adults to do—such as painting, crafts, Lego, colouring books, puzzles, and board games.

In addition, Henry also gave a detailed account of her income plan. She will offer either a day pass or membership of preference. The members will be charged a nominal fee for supplies and services provided.

“Life is meant to be fun. So, make time for the things that light you up and make you feel alive—all of it,” Henry told the judges.

“Don’t be afraid to listen to your playful heart because nothing can compensate for a life not fully lived.”

The soulful business idea took home a prize worth over $8,000: a cash prize of $600, office space in the Innovation Cluster’s incubator known as “The Cube”, access to the Cluster’s expert Knowledge Partners as well as mentorship, coaching, and specialized services designed to help the winner take her business to market.

In addition, Henry was also awarded a video with blogger and social media expert, Michelle Ferreri, a “Team Building Package” from The Land Canadian Adventures, a “Social Media Package” from, a 3-Star Membership to the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, and Professional Business Photos from Hazlewood Images ($300 value).

FastStart Peterborough (the youth entrepreneurship partnership that brings together Trent University, Fleming College, and the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster), and the Trent Youth entrepreneurship Society (TYES) partnered to present Cubs’ Lair, the new pitch competition for young Peterborough entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-29.

The competition finals which took place on November 27 at the Gordon Best Theatre in Peterborough were judged by Leslie Bradford-Scott (co-founder of Walton Wood Farm), Andressa Lacerda (COO Noble Purification), and Neil Morton (co-founder and publisher of PTBOCanada).

The Top 5 Cubs’ Lair finalists will be featured in the upcoming E-Connect: Merry Entrepreneurs on December 8, 2015 at 6PM at The Venue.

About Ugyen Wangmo 87 Articles
Ugyen Wangmo is a self trained media personal, steadfast to 'right to information'. She has about six years of media experience through a variety of roles as Reporter, Editor, Stringer, and Freelance writer. She graduated from Trent with a degree in Chemistry and Biology. When not nosing around for leads to write a thing or two about, she indulges in books, fashion, and dance.