As we continue to grow, we always try to dedicate what time we can to engage with local leaders and give back to the community.

Since March we’ve participated in a variety of community-focused events such as:

This update provides the highlights, photos and shares some thoughts on these events.

Tiger’s Den Entrepreneurship Conference

For the third year in a row, we sent Corey off to help guide high school students through their innovative business ideas at the Louis Riel School Division’s “Tiger’s Den Entrepreneurship Conference.”

Organized by the always passionate Career and Entrepreneurship Consultant, Adriano Magnifico, the March 2nd event brought teams of students together to develop, refine and pitch a new business idea to a panel of judges all in a single day! A truly intense and inspirational experience, Tiger’s Den is an event we wish was available to us when we were in high school!

Dan Blair (Bit Space Development) and Corey King (ZenFri) at Tiger's Den

Dan Blair (Bit Space Development) and Corey King (ZenFri) at Tiger’s Den

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Dan Blair (Bit Space Development) walks students through ways to improve their business plan


This year’s event was made even more special by the addition of our friend and frequent collaborator, Dan Blair of Bit Space Development. Together Corey and Dan created something of a good cop, bad cop dynamic for students, with Dan definitely playing the part of the good cop.

Following the event, Adriano got a piece about this year’s event published in the Winnipeg Free Press titled “Tiger’s Den fosters student creativity, innovation,” we encourage you to check it out if you want more details on this unique and important annual event.


The Rotary Club Career Symposium

Due to the popularity of Corey’s 2016 talk “Working in Manitoba as a Creative Professional in: Gaming and other Entertainment” the organizers of the Rotary Clubs Career Symposium invited him back in 2017 to give the same talk during this year’s March 15th & 16th event.

Having refined the talk to better connect with a high school audience, Corey’s 2017 iteration really seems to have an impact as students continued to crowd around and ask questions in the hall outside the auditorium on both days after the talk.

Career Symposium Show Floor

A look at the crowded main conference floor for the 2017 Career Symposium

Rotary Club Career Symposium 2017

Students file into Corey’s 2017 talk

“The ultimate inspiration is really seeing a spark get planted in their heads,” Corey says of the talk. “I know there was a lot of stuff I was never told in high school, very practical things about how to find your own way, and what that takes. Though this talk is on the surface about making games in Winnipeg, it’s really about forging your own path and following your dreams, and it’s great to see it really connect this year.”

We believe any opportunity to expose young people to a variety of careers paths is extremely important. Being in high school should be about finding your fit and exploring the possibilities. The Career Symposium does this for a large number of students every year which is why it’s really an essential event.


Investing in our Cultural Capital Luncheon

On May 18th, the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce held the “Investing in our Cultural Capital Luncheon” with Valerie Creighton, President and CEO of The Canada Media Fund. Given that the talk was directly discussing our industry, and because the CMF is one of our most important funders, we knew we had to attend.

Hosted by the Fort Garry Hotel, the event focused on the increasingly important role Canada’s TV and interactive industries have on the local and national economy.

What’s been most striking to us working from Winnipeg is the amazing amount of support the business community has for our industry. This support was not lost on Valerie Creighton as she noted that the Chamber’s event brought in the largest crowd she’d ever spoken for in Canada. Not bad for a city of only about a 1/2 million people!


The Fort Garry’s Grand Ballroom was packed for the event


Valerie Creighton, President and CEO of the Canada Media Fund speaking at the “Investing in our Cultural Capital” event in Winnipeg

We were also fortunate to be welcomed to a private industry round table discussion after the talk — the only interactive company present among a roster that included all the key players in Manitoba’s film and TV industry.

It was at this round table that we got to participate most directly, as companies and stake holders discussed the best means to position the industry.


PREP4Life event at St. John’s High School

Due in part to the response from this year’s Rotary Club’s Career Symposium talk, Corey was invited to St. John High School’s PREP4Life event, where he spoke about following your dreaming, living with passion and the value of tenacity.

PREP4Life is an event designed to present inner city students with an alternative and more optimistic view of what their future may hold if they follow their dreams.

The 15 minute talk was filled with candid, personal anecdotes about rising above poor grades, years of failure and poverty to create a dream job. It was sprinkled with no-bull insights and hopefully some lessons useful to anyone who wants to follow their passion.

PREP4Life 2017 talk at St. John’s High School

Corey speaking to students at St. John’s High School PREP4Life event

St. John’s High School main entrance

The main entrance to St. John High School

“Seeing which beats really resonated at this year’s Career Symposium, I compacted it all together into a fast, but hard-hitting talk.” Corey explains. “You can tell when you are really connecting with a room, and the laughs and applause spoke for themselves, I think this little talk was the best I ever delivered.”


Manitoba Leadership Breakfast

More recently on June 6th, Corey was invited by Future Leaders of Manitoba to the Governor General’s Leadership Conference – The Manitoba Leadership Breakfast at the Fairmont.

This breakfast brought together a unique mix of leaders from across Canada and Manitoba to do nothing more complex than share our stories and experiences over breakfast, sparking some of the most interesting discussions over omelettes we’ve ever been part of.

GG Breakfast

View from the Fairmont tour that closed out the Manitoba Leadership Breakfast

The breakfast essentially mixed locally selected leaders with those on the Manitoba leg of the Governor Generals Leadership Conference. Though the gathering was brief, it was enlightening and certainly an honour to have been involved.

Guest Speaker at Adam Beach Film Institute 

Finally on June 7th, the day after the Manitoba Leadership Breakfast, Corey gave a special variant of the “Working in Manitoba as a Creative Professional in: Gaming and other Entertainment” to the students at the Adam Beach Film Institute.

Corey was invited by the organization’s Artistic Director, Jim Compton who came up with the idea to do this talk when they met at the Chamber Luncheon.  

Adam Beach Film Institute Talk Photo

The class was generous enough to pose with Corey after the talk

Given the audience was filled with aspiring filmmakers, the talk was augmented to highlight ZenFri’s filmmaking roots and discussed what skills cross over from film to video game development, and what differences have to be accounted for.

The 1 hour talk and Q&A combined the best elements of the Rotary Club talk with the more inspirational tone for the PREP4Life event. The similarity in tone and content of recent talks has really allowed Corey to hone his presentation style. The outcomes are perhaps best stated by Jim himself in this LinkedIn comment:

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It’s tough to beat that type of encouragement!

Final Thoughts

The last few months have truly been a whirlwind of projects, launches, talks and events. However, it also has been some of the most rewarding and inspiring times we’ve experienced in recent memory. The more we engage, the more we are humbled by the breath of talent, and rewarded with priceless insights and experiences.

We hope sharing this look at our recent engagements with the community help you to understand what we now cannot deny, Winnipeg is a great place to live, work and be inspired.