Emerging Innovators win big at the CNE Innovation Garage
Twenty-four-karat gold hamburgers, macaroni and Cheetos popsicles and tortilla hot dogs aren’t the only eye-popping inventions to hit the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) this year.
Technology and innovation have been a vital part of The Ex since it began, way back in 1879. In the early days, there was a focus on advancements in agriculture, but other technologies, including the phonograph, telephone, television and synthetic fabrics entered the mix over the years, making The Ex a place to see the newest innovations even before they hit the marketplace.
In the spirit of that legacy, on opening weekend in mid-August, the CNE Innovation Garage celebrated three years with three days of cutting-edge technology and products for attendees of Canada’s largest annual fair. Guests took part in interactive displays, played in maker spaces, saw high-school students compete on a robot battlefield and watched the third annual Emerging Innovators Pitch Competition.
The Emerging Innovators Pitch Competition was split into six categories, with each participant pitching their product or service in a short on-stage presentation before a panel of judges. The top pitch for each category received $5,000 prize money and in-kind services to assist in developing their business and then advanced to the semi-finals. The two finalists competed for the top prize of $25,000!
Judges on hand to interview and score the participants’ presentations included team members from Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), who were very impressed with the ingenuity displayed by these up-and-coming entrepreneurs from across Canada.
Emerging Innovators Pitch Competition Category Winners
- Food and Agriculture — Ohh! Foods
- Kids Technology — Real Atoms
- Travel and Leisure — JAUNTIN’
- Health and Wellness — SmartCane
- Women Entrepreneurs — Fleeky
- Home and Everyday Life — Sobie Systems
Ontario Semi-Final Winners
OCE would like to congratulate all the participants and we’re pleased to note that many of these young innovators were assisted through participation in the Campus Linked Accelerator (CLA) and On-Campus Entrepreneurship (OCEA) programs. The CLA/OCEA program is delivered by OCE at university and college campuses across Ontario and helps develop the business leaders of tomorrow while supporting the initiation and expansion of entrepreneurship activities that drive economic growth and job creation.