Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia student wins $100K scholarship from Loran Scholars Foundation

Alex Gillis, a Grade 12 student at the Fountain Academy at Sacred Heart in Halifax, has won a $100,000 scholarship from the Loran Scholars Foundation.

Alex Gillis, 17, says he can pursue any Canadian school

Alex Gillis recently appeared on Next Gen Den, an offshoot of the CBC's Dragons' Den. (CBC)

Alex Gillis, a Grade 12 student at the Fountain Academy at Sacred Heart in Halifax, has won a $100,000 scholarship from the Loran Scholars Foundation.

Thirty-one Canadian students were given the prestigious award this year, but Gillis was the only Nova Scotia recipient.

"Having the $100,000 scholarship allows me to pursue any Canadian school of my choice," said Gillis, who is looking at schools in British Columbia and Ontario. He plans to focus on business.

Gillis created Bitness, technology that helps track consumer behaviour. (CBC)

"I had no expectation of winning, I had no idea that I would even be called up as a finalist to Toronto earlier in February," he said.

Gillis, 17, was named Canada's Young Entrepreneur in 2015. He launched a business called Bitness that tracks consumer habits inside stores using wireless sensors. 

"We're able to pick up a large majority of shoppers that come into their store, people passing by and we're able to help them better understand their customer flow, traffic outside their store and how they can staff more efficiently and increase their marketing to help them increase sales and boost performance," said Gillis.

Bitness is still in its pilot stage, but should be ready for market in less than two months.

Gillis also appeared on Next Gen Den, a Dragons' Den made for the online world, where he earned a $50,000 buy-in from two dragons who were impressed with his idea and the fact he's still a teenager.

About the Author

World champion curler Colleen Jones has been reporting with CBC News for nearly three decades. Follow her on Twitter @cbccolleenjones.

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