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Three teams awarded for innovative ideas in NAIT startup pitch competition

Published on May 03, 2016

Finalists eligible for seed funding and incubation space

Three teams of budding entrepreneurs have been awarded startup funding, mentorship and work space at NAIT to ‘hatch’ their innovative business ideas in the polytechnic’s annual Hatch Startup Challenge.

The business ideas include Evented, a website that connects the event-planning industry with vendors; Zacxon, a water pipe monitoring system that guards against freezing and Agricast, an Internet-based platform that provides custom weather forecasts to farmers, which could help these producers improve their yields.

The winners of the startup competition were announced April 28 at NAIT’s Applied Research, Innovation and New Venture Student Showcase. Participating teams were required to include at least one current student or recent alumni. The winners will share up to $30,000 in seed funding and work closely with New Venture at NAIT to further develop their ideas.

Six teams were accepted to be part of this year’s challenge, which had a theme of “innovation.” The final round of judging was held April 19, when the teams had to make 10-minute Dragon’s Den style pitches to the judges, followed by 10 min Q&A sessions.

The three other teams that participated this year include Whippet, an application that connects customers who need packages delivered, to drivers already headed to the destination (described as the Uber of shipping); Petals of Lotus, which sells Ayurveda natural-healing related products for the yoga crowd, including candles, soaps and mala beads, and Connected Gateways, which curates health and fitness focused getaways for individuals who like to stay active and healthy when on vacation.

QUICK FACTS

  • Approximately $150,000 and 15 office spaces have been awarded since the Hatch Startup Challenge began in 2009.
  • Over the years the competition has expanded to include 3 Day Startup bootcamps, workshops, networking and mentoring.
  • Hatch will be accepting new applications beginning in September for the next intake, which takes place in January 2017.

QUOTES

Sandra Spencer, Manager of Entrepreneurial Partnering, NAIT Research and Innovation 
“I’m so proud of the work all of these teams have put into their startups. We look forward to providing mentorship opportunities over the next year through New Venture at NAIT, and helping the winners further develop their business ideas and grow their entrepreneurship skill sets. Congratulations to everyone who participated in the 2016 Hatch Startup Challenge.”

About NAIT

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.