Mitacs recently recognized five up-and-coming researchers-turned-entrepreneurs for their ground-breaking innovations that are helping to propel Canada’s economy forward — and ultimately, improve the lives of Canadians — amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The global pandemic highlights more than ever how important it is to recognize and support local innovation,” said Mitacs CEO and scientific director John Hepburn.
“Not only will their inventions ultimately help Canada to recover from this crisis, but with continued investment in talent, research and development, they will ensure we keep our spot in the global innovation economy.”
The Mitacs Entrepreneur Awards celebrate start-up companies founded by outstanding former Mitacs interns, postdoctoral fellows, and training participants, who have gone on to start their own businesses.
The five winners are:
Outstanding Entrepreneur: Miayan Yeremi, 31, a Mitacs PhD student in the department of mechanical engineering at the University of British Columbia, and co-founder of Vancouver-based BarrelWise Technologies. Yeremi’s company has invented a breakthrough technology that provides winemakers with unprecedented automated information that lets them know exactly what’s going on inside each oak barrel in a wine cellar — a task typically done manually, and which a study shows can be conducted up to 74% faster using the company’s technology.
Global Impact Entrepreneur: Sheamus MacDonald, 30, a Mitacs master’s student in the department of marine studies at Newfoundland’s Memorial University, and president and co-founder of Dalhousie-based Sedna Technologies. MacDonald is disrupting the fishing industry with the world’s first high-tech mobile system that decreases seafood waste, increases revenue, and brings transparency to the seafood supply chain from sea-to-plate by tracking, tracing, and monitoring the real-time conditions of seafood products, starting at the dock.
Environmental Entrepreneur: Raghavender Sahdev, 26, a former Mitacs intern at the University of Toronto who went on to earn his master of computer science at York University, and is now President and CEO of Toronto-based NuPort Robotics. Sahdev was recognized for his company’s launch of Canada’s first autonomous trucking company, which will use eco-friendly, self-driving electric trucks for short-haul shuttle runs between distribution centres, warehouses, and ports, promising to change the way retailers, manufacturers, and logistics companies move goods.
Change Agent Entrepreneur: Andrée-Ann Adam, 27, a former Mitacs master’s student in the department of microbiology at the University of Laval, and president and co-founder of Quebec City-based Animora. Adam is filling a gap in the pet care market with the launch of a first-of-its-kind all-natural dental gel for dogs and cats — the only pet care product that fights gum inflammation and bacterial infection at the same time.
Social Entrepreneur and Pitch Competition Award (sponsored by StartUp Canada): Azadeh Dastmalchi, 34, a Mitacs PhD candidate in the department of biomedical engineering at the University of Ottawa, and CEO and co-founder of Montreal-based VitalTracer. Dastmalchi was honoured for keeping people healthier and safer with the launch of a first-of-its-kind medical-grade smartwatch that continuously measures all five vital signs and provides cardiac monitoring in one device, and also serves as an early stage COVID-19 prediction and monitoring solution.
Funded by federal and provincial governments, Mitacs is a not-for-profit organization that “fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions.”