Eight teams awarded for innovative ideas in NAIT startup pitch competition
The top business ideas include a Wi-Fi enabled water pipe monitoring system that guards against freezing, solar-powered light towers designed for northern climates and a smartphone-based customer loyalty program (full details attached).
The Hatch Startup Challenge is a competition for budding entrepreneurs where they pitch their ideas for viable businesses. Participating teams are required to include at least one current student or recent alumni (who graduated within the last two years).
The challenge received a total of 19 applications this year, with 14 qualifying for the judging round, which took place April 7. Participants in this final round were required to make a 10-minute Dragon’s Den-style pitch to a panel of judges, including representatives from NAIT and the business/investment community. The eight winners were announced at a reception last night.
• Over 80 entrepreneurs participated in the program this year, which included a series of workshops and boot camps.
• $32,500 in cash was awarded.
• The prize money is made available through Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures (AITF).
• The incubation space is for one year in The Hatchery, within the Duncan McNeil Centre for Innovation at NAIT’s Main Campus. It includes ongoing business mentorship.
Sandra Spencer, Manager of Entrepreneurial Partnering, NAIT Research and Innovation
“We’ve expanded our program this year through the support of partners such as Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures, Startup Edmonton and VA Angels, to name a few. The response we’ve had from entrepreneurs has been overwhelming. I am so proud of the work the students and alumni have put into their startups. We can’t wait to start planning next year’s program.”
Rollie Dykstra, General Manager, Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures
“NAIT's Hatch Startup Challenge provides a significant platform for startups to continue their development toward growth and sustainability. This is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to take advantage of NAIT's capabilities while gathering valuable feedback on their progression.”
Hatch Startup Challenge: http://www.nait.ca/95727.htm
The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and trades. With more than 60,000 credit and non-credit students and a 98 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads are essential to Alberta’s prosperity. Known for hands-on, technology-based learning, NAIT engages with business and industry in applied research and innovation and provides corporate training around the world. Recognized as one of Alberta’s top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta.
Winners of the 2015 Hatch Startup Challenge
Mycelium ($5,000 and one incubator space)
Mycelium will market and sell morel mushrooms grown in the Northwest Territories to Edmonton restaurants and retailers. The company is the first aboriginal-run morel distributor in Alberta providing jobs to aboriginal people in the Northwest Territories. Morels are a highly-valued commodity in the culinary world.
Property Protection System ($10,000 and incubator space)
This is a system that uses Wi-Fi sensors to detect the temperature around water pipes. If the temperature drops below a certain point, the system empties the pipes and dispenses anti-freeze. This ensures the pipes do not burst. Burst pipes cost Albertans thousands of dollars a year in damages.
Alumination Canada ($7,500 and incubator space)
Alumination is a home décor manufacturer. All its giftware products are manufactured on a CNC lathe and created out of aluminum. The current product line takes traditional candle holders and makes them interesting again.
SolBird Energy ($7,500)
SolBird Energy designs, builds and rents/sells solar-powered light towers. SolBird Energy has been approached on several occasions to provide a solar powered lighting solution that can work year-round in a northern climate. SolBird has designed a product to meet these requirements and is currently working on getting a prototype built and tested.
Crux AR ($2,500 and incubator space)
Crux AR is a type of new media that uses augmented reality technology to solve today’s out-of-home advertising woes and allows consumers to go deeper with brands.
Scout (incubator space)
Scout is Canada's first universal, smartphone-based, loyalty platform. The idea was to create a loyalty program unique to each and every business that provides the convenience of a single app for customers.
viveMode (incubator space)
This is an e-commerce website for Canadian fashion entrepreneurs. It connects sellers to Canadian and international buyers.
Safe Frack Solutions (incubator space)
This technology uses sensors and satellite communication to facilitate communications between fracking sites, ensuring the pumps are shut down in the event of an emergency.