UCalgary Community Submits Innovative Startup Ideas to Launchpad Liftoff Contest | News
University of Calgary students and researchers took to the virtual stage to pitch their innovative startup ideas at the second annual Launchpad Liftoff competition hosted by youe Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking, in partnership with the Schulich School of Engineering. Concepts ranged from improving health and wellness to improving travel experiences and environmental sustainability.
The launch bar is UCalgary’s flagship extracurricular entrepreneurship program, empowering students, researchers, and postdocs from all faculties and departments to become founders and changemakers in their fields. This year’s program started in October 2021, involving 99 participants across 27 teams from six faculties. It lasted six months and included workshops, mentoring and coaching, funding for prototypes and over $20,000 in prizes to celebrate and reward participants’ creativity and teamwork.
Dreamed up by the Schulich School of Engineering in 2019, the Launchpad program helps strengthen resumes and early-career experience, build entrepreneurial thinking skills, and encourage participants to make an impact by finding problems that deserve to be resolved. “Schulich’s idea behind Launchpad was to create a pan-UCalgary extracurricular entrepreneurship program for individuals from all faculties to participate and enhance their entrepreneurial thinking skills while developing innovative solutions across disciplines,” said Dr. Bill Rosehart, P .Eng, PhD, Professor and Dean, Schulich School of Engineering. “It’s incredibly rewarding for witnessess Launch bar grow and become UCalgary’s flagship entrepreneurial experience. To this year’s winners, I extend my congratulations.
Last year was Launchpad’s third year at UCalgary and the program has grown to support the local community. “Our vision is to transform lives and economies through entrepreneurial thinking across all disciplines and beyond our campus. Launchpad is a fun and supportive program for anyone at UCalgary interested in creating innovative and Last year, we also offered the weekly Launchpad Live lectures to the public to create innovators beyond our university,” said Keri Damen, Executive Director of the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking.
Entrepreneurial thinking exposed
The March 30 event marked the end of the Launchpad program and was a key celebration as part of Hunter Hub’s first-ever Entrepreneurial Thought Week featuring innovators across all disciplines. Sustainable tech startup Neocycle won the first grand prize with their innovative idea for explore recycled e-waste as an alternative raw material for rare earth elements (REE).
The seven teams present at the Launchpad Liftoff Competition included:
- Dexpert Rehab: Provided an affordable home rehabilitation system to track the healing growth of stroke and brain injury survivors
- MRKS Aviation: Designing a low-cost fixed-wing VTOL drone that incorporates high-end features at an affordable price
- Neocycle: Exploration of recycled e-waste as an alternative raw material for rare earth elements (REE)
- Packy: Creating a functional travel kit for travelers looking to pack more efficiently and avoid spills while traveling
- Serenity solutions: Hands-free knee crutch design for patients with lower leg injury
- SYZTMic: Developed cost-effective, real-time workout detection and feedback for fitness enthusiasts
- ZOHRBS: Revolutionized the trading of carbon credits by enabling individual facilities participating in the market to achieve net zero emissions goals
The team prizes were awarded as follows:
- First Place Grand Prize: Neocycle
- Audience Award: ZOHRBS
- Better definition of the problem: ZOHRBS
- Best Prototype: MRKS Aviation
- Most transdisciplinary project: Packy
- Clearest development trajectory: SYZTMic
- Best Pivot: Closet in the Clouds (not shown)
The individual prizes were awarded as follows:
- The most coachable: Sarthak Sharan, InFun
- The most committed: Puneet Kaushal, Serenity Solutions
- Better peer support: Michael Francis, Dexpert
- Female Founder: Christie Sampson, Field Work Solutions
The Launchpad program will open applications for next year’s program in August 2022.