Conrad School competitions roundup - winter 2023

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

As temperatures rise, we're looking back on a busy (and successful!) winter 2023 term with our students.

Graduate students in the Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) programs and undergraduate students in BET 300 or Enterprise Co-op (E Co-op) performed admirably in both on- and off-campus competitions.


Velocity Innovation Challenge

With a week to collaborate and devise solutions to global food, health and energy problems, nine student teams from presented their ideas at Velocity’s Innovation Challenge in February.

Coming in first place and winning $500 was a team comprising Kade Truman and Andrew Cordssen-David (both MBET '23). Their idea, Heat-Up, is a stove that draws toxins from organic compound fuel, such as from burning wood and dry cow dung, that would also reduce disease like tuberculosis.

Butt Out came in second place, winning $250. Along with two other team members, Jaya Lalwani and Shubham Kumar (both MBET '23) created an app to help amputees quit smoking, connecting them with community members, fellow app users and rewards for kicking the habit.


Kade Truman, Andrew Cordssen-David (MBET '23)

Team Heat-Up, which included Kade Truman and Andrew Cordssen-David (both MBET '23)

Jaya Lalwani, Shubham Kumar

Team Butt Out, which included Jaya Lalwani and Shubham Kumar (both MBET '23)

Christianna Ioannou (MBET '23)

Christianna Ioannou (MBET '23)

Apex Business Plan Competition

Christianna Ioannou (MBET '23) won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Powerhouse Award at the Apex Business Plan Competition, coming in first in the Graduate Track and first in the Elevator Pitch. 

The competition challenges participants to be innovative and creative as they develop, direct, organize and present a business plan or new venture.

Her venture, Group Renew, provides group benefit brokers with secure, reliable, and clean data on demand. It parses PDF files, performs calculations and validation, allows for easy scenario planning, and spits out client-ready reports.

Velocity 5K Pitch Competition

Among four final winners this term included a BET 300 student, Osose Itua. Her venture, Foodage Inc., helps restaurants to reduce waste by predicting future demand accurately.

Among the finalists were also:

  • Med Melanin, which offers access to culturally competent physicians and advocacy training to improve healthcare consults and reduce misdiagnosis rates starting with women of colour.
    • Yvonne Osagie, MBET '23
  • Pharmabox, which automates the prescription pickup process with self-serve smart lockers.
    • Aliya Rajwani & Joshua Wilkinson, BET 300

Several of our students also were semifinalists, pitching over two days in early March.

  • Arami Health, a platform that aims to empower black women facing fertility issues by providing them with medical resources.
    • Olajumoke Ogbeide, Ndubuaku Chijioke-Ugwu, MBET '23
  • ForestOrigin mitigates the effects of wildfires by providing real-time monitoring and early detection alerts through an Internet of Things network.
    • Javier Yanes Pulido, BET 300
  • Haystackfs offers a chrome extension/website that allows users to search and discover relevant information and the surrounding communities.
    • Dhrumil Patel, BET 300
    Student standing on a stage with "Pharmabox" written on screen behind.

    Aliya Rajwani (BET 300) representing Pharmabox

    • Crescendo is a Web3 music platform that provides a collaborative space for individual musicians to connect and create music NFTs.
      • Baichuan Zheng, BET 300
    • CyberNeuro is a system that integrates non-invasive brain-computer interfaces, precise motor tracking, and VR technology to revolutionize neurorehabilitation.
      • Livia Murray, Joseph Mitchell, Surya Pandiaraju, Subeka Manokanthan, BET 300
    • Engineering Link, providing software for consulting engineers that are frustrated by challenges in developing a scalable software solution for their business.
      • Kade Truman, MBET '23
    • Matin Nuit helps influencers create and launch their own beauty (skincare and makeup) products.
      • Matthew Chun, E Co-op & BET 300
    • Plantal Support provides items that both support and promote plant growth while minimizing the effort of plant parents.
      • Wenbo (Doris) Yi, E Co-op


    Impac5 MPA Pitch Competition

    The International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5) held their Ocean Innovation and Technology Series this year in Vancouver. This featured an MPA Pitch Challenge for startups working in the field of ocean technology and innovation, where Coastal Carbon was recognized for "immense progress for a very fast moving business".

    Coastal Carbon, co-founded by Kelly Zheng (MBET '25, PhD Fellowship recipient), is empowering ocean restoration through AI-driven ecosystem monitoring.


    RISE Fund

    The RISE Fund provides support for community-led organizations, initiatives or events that decrease inequities and increase opportunities for racialized communities in Kitchener.

    Aileen Agada (MBET '24) won $10,000 for her venture BeBlended, which aims to globally improve the quality of life for black women by creating access to inclusive and accessible hair care services.

    Aileen Agada, MBET '24

    Aileen Agada (MBET '24)

    GreenHouse Social Impact Showcase

    Ernest Onuorah and Chinazom Uwaoma (MBET '24 and '25, respectively) won $1,500 at the GreenHouse Social Impact Showcase in March.

    Their venture Merge 2 Own Inc. aims to reduce the barriers to home purchases for first-time buyers with an innovative sharing model.

    Chinazom Uwaoma

    Chinazom Uwaoma (MBET '25) representing Merge2Own Inc.


    March Madness Pitch Competition

    Modelled after the NCAA March Madness basketball competition, 64 student entrepreneurs from across Canada were selected to compete head-to-head in brackets to be declared the best in the country in the March Madness Pitch Competition.

    TrainPro, founded by Anna Liebenberg (BET 300) and Shreshth Mehra (Bridging Entrepreneurs to Students (BETS) program), was awarded $5,000 as the runner-up. They are developing smart, wearable sports clothing that gives auditory and visual feedback to correct users’ workout form, providing the same benefits as a personal trainer.


    Norman Esch Entrepreneurship Award for Capstone Design

    10 student teams in the Faculty of Engineering’s Fourth-Year Capstone Design Project who submitted a design project and an accompanying business plan were selected as finalists for this year's Norman Esch Entrepreneurship Award.

    Of these 10 student teams included:

    • Bexter, an at-home robot that teaches non-verbal autistic children how to communicate. This team won one of six final prizes of $10,000.
      • Osose Itua, BET 300
    • VIZZ, a tool that allows developers to understand how different components in their code call other files and microservices without having to read any code. This team also won one of six final prizes of $10,000.
      • Sebastian Ouslis, BET 300
      Osose Itua and her Capstone team on stage after winning a Norman Esch Entrepreneurship Award for Capstone Design

      Team Bexter, which included Osose Itua (BET 300)

      • TrainPro, developing smart, wearable sports clothing that gives auditory and visual feedback to correct users’ workout form. 
        • Anna Liebenberg, BET 300, and Shreshth Mehra, BETS program
      • PHANES, a rehabilitation device for people living with spinal cord injury or other lower body mobility disabilities.
        • Orianna Min and Danniel Hu, both E Co-op


      If you missed the winter 2023 Enterprise Co-op pitch winners, catch up with them in our ignition week round-up!

      Congratulations to all our winners and finalists!

      If you are a current or former Conrad School student and would like to share a recent accomplishment, please complete our short Student News Form so it can be shared and promoted.