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Working as a communicator in a health care setting, Seun Adetunji could see the impact medical jargon was having on people with English language barriers and disabilities. During repeated interactions with doctors and medical staff, she could see that patients and caregivers were overwhelmed hearing medical language and instruction.

Seun decided to do something about it. She created MedInclude, an AI-based data processing platform that can help health-care providers transcribe patient notes into lay terminology in real time.

Within just a year of starting the Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) program, Chinazom Uwaoma had already founded two promising startups, both aimed at driving social impact in Canada and around the world.

Inspired by his experience finding housing when he first arrived in Waterloo region, he and fellow MBET student Ernest Onuorah created MergeToOwn, an online platform that reduces barriers for first-time homebuyers by supporting successful co-ownership.

And he didn't stop there. Chinazom also created ESOTE, a platform that uses AI technology to support startups around the world to easily recruit junior and intermediate co-op students from Canadian postsecondary institutions.

Friday, February 16, 2024

From seed to success

It was a question from a rural farmer in Ghana that planted the seed of a new business in Lydia Konlan's head. "How do I find markets for my products?"

This led her to create FarmicleGrow (formerly Rural Agrihub), a business that uses demand data to understand customer and wholesale business needs that can be shared with rural farmers so they can successfully bring their products to market.  

Adedayo Adefarakan already had a successful ice production company back home in Nigeria before he came to the Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) program. You can find his ice products - like dry ice, packaged ice tubes and ice blocks - in commercial locations all over the federal capital territory.  

Having nailed the domestic space, Adedayo wanted to scale his operation internationally but also wanted to explore more education before scaling his operation internationally. He looked at the Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Black History Month 2024

February marks the start of Black History Month. It’s a time to highlight Black Excellence, which is a term used to describe the individual achievements and successes, contributions and perseverance of the Black community.

Here at the Conrad school, we have many examples of Black Excellence to celebrate. We have combed through our archives to highlight some of the recent achievements from Black alumni, graduate and undergraduate students.

1Mentor’s recent acquisition by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), the world’s largest global higher education network, underscores the urgent need for their platform and the data it provides higher education institutions.

Their artificial intelligence (AI) enabledtechnology sifts through employers’ job postings to provide insights into employers' needs and identify skills required for success. It also equips higher education institutions with the information they need to adjust programming to address the skills gap.

1Mentor co-founder Esteban Veintimilla's entrepreneurial journey started at the Conrad School. Tapping into the entrepreneurial ecosystem at Waterloo helped launch 1Mentor towards success.

This past September, the Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business welcomed a new set of University of Waterloo PhD students to the Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) classroom through the highly successful Entrepreneurial PhD Fellowship program.

The fellowships were awarded to support outstanding, business-minded Waterloo doctoral students who are interested in commercializing their research. The following recipients will complete the three-year part-time program alongside their regular doctoral studies, tuition-free. 

When she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2019, Rachel Bartholemew (MBET '14) learned the surgery and radiation would affect her pelvic health for the rest of her life. She began researching rehabilitation options and discovered women were still using devices known as dilators, which were invented in 1938. So, she founded Hyivy Health, a startup that is developing a rehabilitation system to help women recover from everything from cervical cancer and gender-affirming surgery to childbirth.

Kelly Zheng has a lot on her plate. She’s a doctoral student building a startup while also working towards a graduate business degree. The Entrepreneurial PhD Fellowship has allowed Kelly to gain the business knowledge, skills and experience to commercialize her research. Using her PhD research in artificial intelligence, Kelly's venture, Coastal Carbon uses AI and machine learning technology to help create a sustainable future for our oceans.

Andrew Martinko (BASc ’15, MBET ’16) is the co-founder of Suncayr and its hero product, SpotMyUV, a UV detection sticker that tells you when to reapply sunscreen. It works by placing a small, round sticker on your skin that’s purple when it goes on and turns clear when you apply sunscreen, absorbing the product just as your skin does. When the sticker turns purple again, it’s time to reapply.

Tapping into the entrepreneurial ecosystem at the University of Waterloo, Martinko and his engineering Capstone team leveraged the entrepreneurial opportunities available to them at UWaterloo to turn an idea into a viable product.