Beedie students earn top two spots in 2016 Coast Capital Savings Venture Prize
Feb 18, 2016
Two students in the Beedie School of Business’ Graduate Certificate in Science and Technology Commercialization earned the top two places at the fifth annual Coast Capital Savings Venture Prize.
The competition, which recognizes entrepreneurial excellence at Simon Fraser University and was held this year at the Segal Graduate School of Business on February 10, saw Ben Britton and Ehsan Daneshi take home the gold and silver medals respectively.
Britton and Daneshi received cash prizes of $3,500 and $2,000 respectively, along with other in-kind prizes such as legal and accounting services, and networking and mentorship opportunities.
Britton, a PhD student in chemistry at SFU, earned first place for his venture Ionomr, which manufactures aemion, the most pH-durable, mechanically strong anion-exchange membrane in the world.
The material is customizable to any anion-exchange application, primarily clean-tech energy storage, water purification and treatment systems, and next-gen fuel cells.
“The Graduate Certificate in Science and Technology Commercialization has helped me refine our business model and given me the tools to go from the lab to investors,” says Britton. “The training I have received in pitching my venture to potential investors was key to my success in this competition.”
Daneshi’s venture, Ophthalight has developed O-Glass, an accurate, portable, and automated eye test device for physicians who need to diagnose and monitor patients for optic neuropathy, glaucoma, and diabetes.
The award-winning technology allows trained users to perform conventional tests quickly and efficiently, and could significantly improve the quality of care for patients. The device can be used with minimal training, and allows users to conduct tests and share the results with authorized ophthalmologists on secure cloud servers, offering patients in remote areas easier access to eye care professionals.
“Winning the Coast Capital Saving Venture Prize Competition will help us in terms of validating our business assumptions, and using the feedback to refine our value proposition,” says Daneshi, who is also studying for a PhD in computational neuroscience at SFU. “The Graduate Certificate in Science and Technology Commercialization has been instrumental in advancing our business model to the point where we are winning competitions such as this. It has taught me that having the right question is more important than having the right answers.”
Also competing in the finals of the competition this year was Artemis Technologies, a precision agriculture company that uses drone technology to take photos of crops and analyze them to determine crop health, co-founded by Beedie undergraduate student Brandon Chapman.
The Coast Capital Savings Venture Prize competition is held annually by SFU’s Venture Connection program and is open to all SFU students and recent alumni innovators. The competition recognizes exemplary SFU student entrepreneurs and their success in growing their companies.
For more information on the Coast Capital Savings Venture Prize, visit sfu.ca/io/venture/venture-connection/program-overview/VenturePrize.html