Student entrepreneurs showcase innovations at OppFest

Mar 29, 2018

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Student entrepreneurs showcase innovations at OppFest at SFU Surrey

A student venture that best exemplifies consideration for People, Planet and Profit (known as the triple bottom line), won the grand prize in SFU’s eighth annual Opportunity Fest (OppFest) on Thursday, Mar. 22, 2018.

The venture, No Waste No Hunger, works with grocery stores and restaurants to distribute excess food stock, both reducing food waste and providing food to those who need it.

The event, sponsored by Vancity, attracted young entrepreneurs from a variety of SFU faculties, as well as high school entrepreneurs. They gathered at SFU’s Surrey campus to showcase their innovative ventures and vie for prizes in a range of categories at the largest OppFest event yet.

“When I entered OppFest on Thursday, I was pretty nervous since it was my first time pitching to a group of judges and entrepreneurs,” says No Waste No Hunger team leader Alyanna Salang, after scooping the event’s top prize.

“I actually did not think about the win; in fact, I was surprised. I just wanted to learn and experience being an entrepreneur and see if it was the direction that I wanted to go. I believe that this experience allowed me to grow as a student, and I am beyond grateful for the feedback, compliments and the award.”

Teams from more than 50 ventures presented their ideas to a distinguished panel of expert judges drawn from the worlds of business, entrepreneurship, the community and the university. The entrants reflected SFU’s commitment to making a positive impact in the world, with many applicants competing in categories relating to social entrepreneurship.

“Each year OppFest gives SFU and our community an opportunity to see how much we have accomplished and also inspires us with how much potential we have to come together to make a better future,” says Sarah Lubik, SFU’s director of entrepreneurship.

“Interdisciplinary collaboration, social impact and community engagement are core values of entrepreneurship at SFU and the Beedie School of Business, and this year we had more interdisciplinary programs participate than ever before. Our participants showed what happens when you start with the ambition to make a dent in a global challenge and then pair it with the skills, support and tenacity required to turn it into a real venture and real impact.”

The event also included pre-university entrepreneurship programs YELL and Powerplay, giving local high school students the opportunity to showcase their own projects to the innovation community and SFU students, and gain advice to help them make their ideas a reality.

“We were delighted to partner with pre-university entrepreneurship groups this year, not only to show those students what an entrepreneurial university education can be, but also to inspire our students with the boundless creativity that the younger entrepreneurs bring,” says Lubik.

Competitors at OppFest

The full list of winners in each category is as follows:

VanCity Triple Bottom Line: No Waste No Hunger

Most Fundable Opportunity

1st: Choice Cereal – an online platform for completely customizing a cereal. People can customize for any variety of needs or desires to create their perfect cereal.

2nd: Logical Learning – an app that helps students with individual questions. Students would submit their question onto an app, a tutor would offer to answer and, based on reviews, the student could decide to accept the help or not.

3rd: Topikos – an e-commerce platform that gives local artists with unique art and craft work the opportunity to transact with buyers looking for a convenient way to find such pieces.

Best Speakers: Allison Chima (Choice Cereal) and Stanley Rashai (Truth Media Inc.)

Most Innovative Technological Solution

1st: Eyeth Technologies – a technological solution to enable deaf individuals to freely communicate with their community in the form of sign-gesture capture gloves and an audio localisation filter for speech to text.

2nd: Novion Health – an assistive robotic device that helps prevent Work Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WRMSDs) among sonographers.

3rd: Ursa Vision Technologies – a wearable solution to help the visually impaired detect moving obstacles in their environment so they can proactively navigate around them.

Best Speakers: Paige Dreher (Infinity Pack) and Justin Lau (Ursa Vision Technologies)

Most Impactful Environmental Opportunity

1st: SoldierGrow – an organic liquid nitrate fertilizer that is a by-product from black soldier fly vermicomposting.

2nd: Klean – technology to generate energy from train vibrations.

3rd: Loc’all – delivering affordable, local and healthy lunches to children at public elementary schools to reduce carbon footprint.

Best Speakers: Joe Vukasovic (SoldierGrow) and Annika McFarlane (Quirk Foods)

Most Impactful Social Opportunity

1st: CommUnity – a platform that engages students in a unique manner by sharing their individual skills.

2nd: The Coop – a streamlined web platform that minimizes administrative labour costs for daycares by consolidating separate organizational waitlists and algorithmically matching parents to the services they require for their specific childcare needs.

3rd: No Waste No Hunger

Best Speakers: Alicia Felgendreher (The Coop) and Winnie Chang (inTour)

Junior Innovators

Cork It (Emerson Krahn) Klick (Maria Gartman, Naman Gupta, Hannah Ma

Entrepreneurs’ Choice: Novion Health