Canadian entrepreneurs recognized for innovations in health, food, and environment
Montreal, QC—Seven up-and-coming Canadian researchers-turned-entrepreneurs received recognition, and a total of $25,000, for their groundbreaking industry contributions that are helping to improve lives in Canada and globally at the 2018 Mitacs Entrepreneur Awards.
The awards celebrate start-up companies founded by outstanding former Mitacs interns, postdoctoral fellows, and training participants, who have gone to lead their respective fields as entrepreneurs. Applicants were evaluated according to their ability to demonstrate sound business planning, entrepreneurial spirit, and commitment to continued excellence in research and innovation.
Environmental Entrepreneurs: Maxim Bergeron, a PhD student from Université Laval, and Mathieu Kirouac, a PhD student from Université de Sherbrooke, former Mitacs interns, and co-founders of Quebec City-based Glacies Technologies, a company that is developing an energy efficient system to store ice and snow for the commercial refrigeration and ski industries. The technology, made up of 95 percent recycled polystyrene plastic, will allow for the preservation of snow or ice for months.
Outstanding Entrepreneur: Calvin Cheng, a former Mitacs intern at University of Toronto, and co-founder of Edgehog, a Montreal-based company specializing in anti-reflective surfaces. In partnership with TandemLaunch, Edgehog’s technology allows users to easily read electronic displays, such as smart phones and watches, under direct sunlight or other bright conditions while lowering battery consumption.
Social Entrepreneur: Erin Goldberg, a former Mitacs intern, and current postdoctoral fellow at the St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre and co-founder of Winnipeg-based ViTal Functional Foods, a company that is changing the way Canadian hospitals approach nutrition with the launch of a plant-based nutritional support beverage. A healthier, better-tasting alternative to sugary meal replacement drinks, the beverage — called Thrive — is free of major allergens, low in sugar, and high in energy and fibre.
Global Impact Entrepreneur: Alli Murugesan, a former Mitacs postdoctoral fellow, and current senior scientist at the University of New Brunswick’s Reiman Cancer Research Laboratory and founder of Saint John-based BioHuntress Therapeutics, a company that is cutting the time to market from research to drug by creating an incubator within academia to encourage and support researchers in commercializing discovery breakthroughs. The first product being developed is a novel treatment for blood cancers that has been shown to target and kill cancer cells, including cells that have grown resistant to chemotherapy.
Change Agent Entrepreneur: Roger Mah, a former Mitacs postdoctoral fellow at the CMC Research Institutes and co-founder of Calgary-based ZoraMat Solutions, a company that is changing the way Canadian industry approaches carbon dioxide (CO2) capture with the launch of a material that works like a molecular sponge to ‘soak up’ CO2 over other gases in an industrial exhaust, smoke stack, or natural gas stream. The innovative product represents a shift away from traditional solvent-based scrubbing technology to solid-based capture systems that require less energy and capital, and removes the need to transport volatile toxic compounds.
Honourable Mention: Ghalia Baki, a former Mitacs intern at McGill University in Montreal and co-founder of Toronto-based Lumbrick, a company that is developing an innovative green charcoal solution for communities in Africa and other parts of the world where wood charcoal is posing serious health problems, leading to more than four million deaths each year. The company’s sustainable and affordable solution relies on off-grid, solar-powered machines to dry organic food waste and compact it into briquettes that don’t give off smoke as they burn.
Alejandro Adem, Mitacs CEO and Scientific Director
“Mitacs is proud to support the exceptional talent displayed by young Canadian entrepreneurs. With one out of every 10 Mitacs interns choosing to pursue their own business, support of this research is critical to advancing entrepreneurship across Canada, which in turn boosts the economy, spurs productivity and creates jobs. In the end, we all benefit from the next great idea.”
- Mitacs is a national, not-for-profit organization that has designed and delivered research and training programs in Canada for 19 years to support industrial and social innovation in Canada.
- Mitacs’ research internship programs connect graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with industry and not-for-profit partners for collaborations supervised by faculty.
- Mitacs acknowledges the Government of Canada, along with Alberta Innovates, the Government of British Columbia, Research Manitoba, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, the Government of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Quebec, and the Government of Saskatchewan.
- For information about Mitacs and its programs, visit mitacs.ca/newsroom.
The 2018 Mitacs Entrepreneur Awards are supported by Ciena, the Consortium for Research and Innovation in Aerospace in Quebec (CRIAQ), and Fundica.
Photo from left to right: Alejandro Adem, Ghalia Baki, Erin Goldberg, Natacha Mainville on behalf of Calvin Cheng, Alli Murugesan, Roger Mah, Maxim Bergeron, and Mathieu Kirouac.