Up-and-Coming Quebec Researcher Earns Prestigious Award for Innovative Work to Accurately Assess the Risk and Impact of Flooding
Quebec City, QC — On the heels of historic flooding in parts of Eastern Canada, a Quebec entrepreneur is working to improve flood risk management, and ultimately keep people safe, with the launch of a first-of-its-kind online tool that accurately assesses and predicts the impact of flood waters on people, buildings and infrastructure.
The ground-breaking product has earned Hachem Agili, 31, a prestigious award from Mitacs, a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada for business and academia. In recognition of the ongoing success of his start-up and its work to develop an easy-to-use, highly accurate flood assessment tool, Agili — a former Mitacs intern from Université Laval, pursuing his doctorate at Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS); and co-founder, president and CEO of Quebec City-based Geosapiens — will be presented the Mitacs Social Entrepreneur Award on May 28 at a ceremony in Halifax.
Agili’s flagship product, e-nundation, the first-place winner in the AquaHacking 2018 Challenge, is the first decision support tool of its kind to help municipalities, citizens, insurance companies and other professionals prepare for and mitigate the risk of flooding. The software takes complex data and applies a sophisticated algorithm to accurately model the impact of different water flows, giving municipalities the information they need to target mitigation measures, accurately estimate physical damage and socioeconomic losses, map flood zone boundaries and identify critical infrastructure to protect. It can even quantify the number of sandbags needed to protect a specific building.
“There is no other solution available in Canada that models the impact of water levels on people, buildings and infrastructure,” said Agili, noting that similar products are limited to predicting water levels and spread only. “Flooding is a huge problem and there is a lot of money being invested to help communities deal with it. Our product gives them the information they need to gain a more detailed and accurate understanding of their flood risk.”
Geosapiens launched in 2017 and is currently marketing its software to municipalities across Quebec and Canada, with pricing based on population. An online platform offering detailed risk reports for specific buildings will soon be available for homeowners or buyers. With an estimated 1.7 million Canadian homes at risk of flooding each year, the software can also be used during a flood to identify flooded or isolated buildings, generate an evacuation plan or assess the availability of communication routers so emergency services can plan the best routes.
“We’ve found a way to offer a very user-friendly solution to a huge problem,” said Agili, adding that the company is also in discussion with insurance companies. “We’re starting to sell in Quebec, but our goal is to be across Canada and eventually the world.”
Agili is one of five winners of the Entrepreneur Award, presented by Mitacs (www.mitacs.ca), who are being recognized for their efforts to turn their research into an innovative business that impacts the lives of Canadians.
“Canada has exceptional talent and Mitacs is extremely proud to support young entrepreneurs in spring-boarding to market the next generation of innovations,” said Alejandro Adem, Mitacs CEO and Scientific Director, noting that one out of every 10 Mitacs interns chooses to pursue their own business. “Their contributions are strengthening the Canadian economy, spurring productivity and creating jobs.”
- Mitacs is a national, not-for-profit organization that has designed and delivered research and training programs in Canada for 20 years. Mitacs is funded by the Government of Canada, the Government of Quebec, the other provincial governments, as well as university and industry partners.
- Mitacs internships connect companies and organizations with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, who apply their specialized expertise to research challenges.
- Working with more than 60 universities, thousands of companies, and both federal and provincial governments, Mitacs builds partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada. Open to all disciplines and all industry sectors, projects can span a wide range of areas, including manufacturing, business processes, IT, social sciences, design and more.
For information about Mitacs and its programs, visit www.mitacs.ca
Gisleine Silveira, Head of International Partnerships, District 3 Innovation Center, presents Hachem Agili with the Mitacs Social Entrepreneur Award.