Five sustainability ventures selected as Activate!Vaughan Innovation Challenge winners- YR Innovation Portal


Five sustainability ventures selected as Activate!Vaughan Innovation Challenge winners

City of Vaughan

January 2, 2020

On November 28, 2019, the City of Vaughan hosted the very first Activate!Vaughan Innovation Challenge, focused on environmental sustainability innovation. Hosted at KPMG in the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre, more than 80 innovators and mentors attended the event to collaborate, share ideas, and contribute to Vaughan’s growing innovation economy. A total of 26 ventures pitched solutions to advance environmental sustainability in key economic sectors, including ideas such as alternative energy solutions, innovative waste management processes, and smart technologies designed to reduce carbon emissions.

The pitch challenge was adjudicated by Joe D’Addario, President and CEO of Nature’s Emporium, Anastasia Boutziouvis, Specialist at Alectra Utilities’ GRE&T Centre, Kristin Newbigging, Public Relations Manager at IKEA Canada, and Matt Skynner, Chief Operations Officer at ventureLAB. Prior to adjudicating pitches, the judging panel delivered presentations to the start-ups to share their perspectives on the opportunities for sustainability innovation in their businesses and industries.

The judging panel selected the following ventures to each receive a $5000 provincial grant and to participate in the Activate!Vaughan Commercialization Program in 2020:

  • Biofect Innovations, a company which is using synthetic biology and genetic engineering to produce medicinal cannabinoids from yeast. This method of production achieves a 15,000 times reduction in CO2 emissions compared to traditional methods of cannabis production;
  • Culcherd, a food manufacturing company which makes products such as cheese and butter from plant-based dairy alternatives;
  • Last20, a company producing recycled plastic pellets designed to replace carbon-intensive bitumen in pavement. Last20 is currently working with chemical engineers to refine a proprietary solution for pavement blends and will launch their commercial product and first road test by the end of 2020;
  • Rainstick, a company which has designed a recirculating, high-pressure shower system that saves 80% of the water and energy used by traditional showers; and
  • ReGenerate Biogas, a company which designs and installs containerized anaerobic digestion systems to convert organic waste to biogas and fertilizer. This solution offsets natural gas consumption, reduces GHG emissions, and cuts waste management costs for businesses in the grocery and food manufacturing industries.

The awarded entrepreneurs will participate in the Activate!Vaughan Commercialization Program where they will receive focused support from advisors, participate in targeted workshops and receive ongoing mentorship from community and corporate partners to further develop their technological innovations.

The next Activate!Vaughan cohort, focused on health tech solutions, will be delivered in partnership with the Mackenzie Innovation Institute (Mi2) beginning in March 2020. This cohort will activate business ideas which advance a technology-enabled healthcare system that delivers high-quality, effective and patient-focused care. In partnership with Mi2 and other business leaders in the healthcare industry, Activate!Vaughan will provide dedicated resources and support to accelerate innovative healthcare solutions in Vaughan.

Are you passionate about technology and innovation? Interested in getting involved with Activate!Vaughan? Join us at the Activate!Vaughan Innovation Cafe to meet other innovators, share your big ideas, and connect with Vaughan’s innovation community. The Activate!Vaughan Innovation Network meets on the third Friday of every month for free coffee and impactful conversations. Register here to join us for the first Innovation Cafe meeting on Friday January 24th.

Learn More

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