U of S TechVenture Challenge Top 10 Announced (December 18, 2012)
Christmas came early for 10 University of Saskatchewan entrepreneurs as they were named finalists in the 2013 Tech Venture Challenge from a field of 28 submissions.
Over the next four months, the finalists will be mentored and guided through the stages of business creation. One will win the grand prize: office space at Innovation Place, services from Deloitte and RBC Royal Bank, and $50,000 from the U of S Industry Liaison Office to get their new venture off the ground.
While there can only be one grand prize winner, just making it into the finalists’ circle offers a valuable boost to the entrepreneurs.
“Win or lose, it’s the connections, the resources, the coaching and mentoring [that everyone receives]. We have taken advantage of all of that,” said Saskatoon entrepreneur Suzanne Paschall of Indie Ink Publishing Inc., one of last year’s final three finalists.
There were just two months between the end of last year’s Tech Venture Challenge and the deadline for submissions for the 2013 competition, putting pressure on entrants to make their case.
“We were encouraged that we received 28 applications,” said Industry Liaison Office Managing Director Glen Schuler. “The response tells us that the U of S community’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and thriving.”
"The ideas were quite diverse and it's never easy picking winners from the applications," said Bryan McCrea, CEO of 3twenty Solutions, one of the competition judges and a local entrepreneur. "This competition isn't just about the prize money, it's about the process. The competition provides the finalists a great opportunity to benefit from the advisory support as they build on their idea."
The 2013 TOP 10 Finalists are:
Bit Strata – a wireless industrial equipment monitoring technology – Michael Lockerbie and Ian Meier.
Farm-at-hand – a farm management mobile application – Kim Keller and Himanshu Singh.
Client relationship management system for seniors’ residences – Scott Kopelchuk, Curtis Chapman and Henry Fernandes.
One Story – a mobile application for video capture – Katrina German and Dale Zak.
Open Mind Developments – an eco-friendly plastic bio-composite made from biopolymers, flax fibre and flax shives used in consumer products – Jeremy Lang.
Student Task Check – online site to connect those with jobs and tasks needing to be completed with those able to provide the service – Brayden York, Jason Tran and Logan Meijer.
Vigor Green – a bioremediation solution that more efficiently assists in mine site and land reclamation – Frank Su and Michael Chubb.
Frozen Gear Design – seedling-stage weed identification mobile application – Chris Weiers, Bradley Weiers and Lindsay Sweet.
Enviro-Green – passive treatment technology for contaminated liquid waste – Brian Peever.
The Blankenator – an automotive electric blanket – Diacre Bayishime.
Thank you to our Sponsors:
2012 Western Canada Equine Health Workshop (October 16, 2012)
The Industry Liaison Office organized a workshop to showcase the equine expertise in the Western College of Veterinary Medicine. Thirteen researchers from the University of Saskatchewan presented their research programs in equine health. The programs include reproductive health, lung inflammation, nutrition and stress related disorders, tick-born and parasitic diseases, laminitis, cancer, adhesion treatment and use of acupuncture in equine practices. WCVM has a long history of equine research and the event confirmed the strong equine research profile of WCVM. The workshop gave the opportunity for representatives from Merial Canada, Merck Animal Health, Pfizer Animal Health, Boehringer Ingelheim, MasterFeeds and Adetheraputics to learn about the research capacity of the University researchers and their interests. We thank all workshop participants for informative sessions. Our office would like to acknowledge our industry partners for active participation. We greatly appreciate the support of the NSERC Regional Office for sponsoring this event.
U of S TechVenture Challenge winner selected in U of S Tech Venture Challenge
(October 10, 2012)
The winner of the U of S 2012 Tech Venture Challenge is Renterra Farmland Sales and Rental Auction Inc. The company, created by Lyndon Lisitza, connects farmland owners and renters through an online auction website. Lisitza is an alumnus of the U of S with a MSc in agricultural economics.
Renterra will receive $50,000 cash, a year of office space at Innovation Place, and professional services valued at $6,000 from Deloitte.
Click here to read more.
Industry-Academic Collaboration (October 3, 2012)
Research and business interests cross paths for College of Kinesiology professor Dr. Phil Chilibeck in his research with The Saskatoon Colostrum Company. The company, a producer of colostrum-based products for animal and human health, was interested in colostrum’s effect on people who exercise regularly. Dr. Chilibeck has solid experience in determining the effect that different products have on people who undertake resistance trainings. Dr. Chilibeck designed a research project to study the effect of colostrum on elderly people who are exercising. The project was founded by MITACS and required a 50% funding contribution from the company. The Saskatoon Colostrum Company contributed $7,500 and the product for the study. This research project is aimed to help the company to develop customer awareness about the product by providing scientific evidence of its use. Our office played an instrumental role in the creating this collaboration.
U of S TechVenture Challenge Finale will award $50,000 grand prize (Sempteber 10, 2012)
The top 3 finalists from the business plan competition pitch will be pitching their technology-based business ideas to a panel of judges. In addition to the $50,000 grand prize, the winning team will also receive office space at Innovation Place and professional services from Deloitte to help launch the new venture, along with continued support and mentoring from the ILO.
All of the competition teams will be in attendance so this will be a great opportunity to learn more about the exciting business ideas they each have been developing over the past several months.
For more information and to register, please click here
University of Saskatchewan Sets Licensing Revenue Records (August 17, 2012)
The University of Saskatchewan’s Industry Liaison Office (ILO) licensing revenue grew to $7.2 million in 2011-12, a 27 per cent increase over last year’s $5.7 million.
Licensing revenue from all sources at the U of S grew to just over $9 million, a 25 per cent increase over last year’s $7.2 million. These levels represent record revenue earnings for the U of S said ILO Managing Director Glen Schuler.
“Our goal is to create ‘win-win’ solutions for both industry and the university by building programs that ensure a supportive and effective environment to transfer technology into the marketplace,” Schuler said. “And we want the university’s intellectual property - the outstanding ideas developed by our researchers for new products, technologies and services—to be used for the public good.”
The ILO was established in 2004 to accelerate the commercialization of U of S research and knowledge. Since 2004, the ILO’s licensing revenue has grown over 19 fold. Approximately 50 per cent of the ILO’s licensing revenues have been returned to the researchers who developed the technologies. Please read the News Release for detailed information.
U of S Team Wins Award of Innovation for iUsask Mobile App (May 18, 2012)
A team of University of Saskatchewan computer scientists has been awarded the 2012 Award of Innovation for creating an iPhone application (app) – the first in Canada to offer university students broader, exceptionally secure access to confidential information such as grades.
10 Finalists Chosen in U of S Tech Venture Challenge (May 14, 2012)
Ten entrepreneurs with ideas ranging from e-publishing, e-health, biofuels, mechanical engineering, and audio special effects will begin working on turning their ideas into businesses as finalists in the Tech Venture Challenge.
The team finalists at our Business Planning workshop on Friday May 11, 2012. They will continue to be mentored and guided through the various stages of business creation as they develop their business plan for submission by September 30th deadline.
U of S Scientists Honoured as Finalists for 2012 Award of Innovation (May 28, 2012)
University of Saskatchewan researchers who developed smartphone applications, a commercial line of tomato plants, and a method for early detection of colorectal cancer were announced as finalists for the Award of Innovation at the SABEX "Celebrate Success!" reception yesterday evening.
Co-sponsored by Innovation Place and the U of S Industry Liaison Office (ILO) , the award honours U of S researchers who have brought new and commercially viable technology to the ILO for development into marketable products.
"Commercialization of the innovative smartphone applications, the first viable, male-sterile line of tomatoes and the marker to identify colorectal cancer are outstanding examples of the benefits the investment in research brings." said Glen Schuler, ILO managing director. "Moreover, the commercialization of these technologies will benefit our city, our province, Canada and the rest of the world through better medical diagnostics, cheaper food and better communications."
2012 Business Plan Competition - Tech Venture Challenge (closing date: April 27, 2012 )
The Industry Liaison Office at the University of Saskatchewan is pleased to announce a new business plan competition for entrepreneurs with a technology-based business idea.
The Tech Venture Challenge gives University of Saskatchewan employees, researchers, students and alumni an opportunity to pursue their dream of creating their own company.
Finalists receive ongoing mentorship, guidance, and training.
The Winner receives $50,000 to go towards the development of the business.
Big thanks to our sponsors! For more information, click here.
U of S Industry Liaison Office: Research Should Benefit Society ( By Ag-West Bio, March 6, 2012 )
Publish or perish is a well-known phrase in academia. It refers to the pressure for researchers to continuously publish academic work in order to progress and be recognized in their field.
Glen Schuler, managing director at the University of Saskatchewan’s Industry Liaison Office (ILO) says publishing is just one way for researchers to make their mark. Although he believes basic research is important, he says scientists can have a real impact by bringing their research to market. The ILO’s vision is to accelerate the commercialization of the University’s research and knowledge: “We want the technology to go out to benefit society.”
A good example of this is the circovirus vaccine for swine, developed at the U of S Western College of Veterinary Medicine. The technology has proven to be a game-changer for the hog industry. “Some breeders say that particular technology reduced mortality rate of hogs by 10 per cent,” says Schuler.
The ILO works with researchers to find the technologies with the best commercialization potential, then either license it to an existing company, or under the right circumstances, help start a new company. If it’s a single use technology, Schuler says they try to license to a mature company. “If you put that technology into a start-up and it doesn’t work, they don’t have anything to fall back on.” Platform technologies that can generate many products are a safer bet for start-up companies. Schuler says all the companies the ILO has started recently have been platform technologies.
Tech Venture Challenge Promotes Entrepreneurship ( On Campus News March 2, 2012 )
It is a startling fact, but only about 10 per cent of new business ventures survive the first year of operations. The Industry Liaison Office (ILO) has launched a new competition called the Tech Venture Challenge with the aim of improving that figure. Among the reasons for the lack of success is not enough knowledge of what is required to launch a business and keep it running, said Glen Schuler, managing director of the ILO. “That is something the Tech Venture Challenge can help with.”
Open to all members of the U of S community - faculty, staff, researchers, students and alumni - the competition will award the winner $50,000 to launch their technology-based business idea. In addition to the prize money, Schuler explained, Innovation Place will be offering the winner office space, parking and an internet connection for a year, while Deloitte and Touche will provide business mentoring.
“This competition is not about building a business plan, it is about building a business,” Schuler said. “The finalists will have access to the expertise in the ILO and others from the university and business community to develop and refine their plans for a business. We will offer advice and tools - in areas like human resources, business planning, marketing, finance and operations. During the summer and early fall, the finalists will use this information to develop and refine plans for their businesses.”
Obviously, Schuler explained, a good technology idea is needed. “But much more is needed to make it successful. The idea needs to be developed into a product or service that provides a valuable solution to a customer’s problem. And you need to develop a business model that will enable you to make money from the sale of the product or service.”
The application deadline for business ideas is April 27. In early May, the finalists will be announced. During the coming summer and early fall, the business plans will be developed and refined and the winner will be selected in October.
“It’s a win-win situation for all of the finalists. Each get training and education on business fundamentals and will learn how to develop and pitch their ideas to potential investors,” he said. “Our hope is that each of the finalists, in addition to the winner, will also get the tools and expertise to start their companies.”
Chubb Joins Ranks of U of S ( By Scott Larsor, The StarPhoenix, February 8, 2012 )
Michael Chubb will be planting seeds of entrepreneurial spirit among faculty and students of the College of Agriculture and Bioresources and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, hoping some will grow thriving companies one day.
Chubb, a local life sciences business veteran, has been named entrepreneur-in-residence for 2012 by the University of Saskatchewan Industry Liaison Office, in conjunction with the two colleges.
The entrepreneur-in-residence program aims to create collaboration among businesses and the university, and help commercialize U of S researchers’ know-how and technology.
Chubb will work in the colleges with researchers, professors and students interested in the commercial potential of their technology. He will also encourage new thinking for research and how the outcome might have some commercial potential.
“I look forward to engaging the researchers, professors and students to turn knowledge into tangible business opportunities,” Chubb said. “I will help them think about entrepreneurial opportunity, not necessarily following the academic ivory tower path, to look at finding ways to create value out of those creations that they have researched.”
Industry Liaison Office at the U of S Gives a Helping Hand to Start-ups (January 19, 2012)
You can have the best idea in the world, but it's not worth much if you can't get it to market.
Glen Schuler and his staff at the Industry Liaison Office (ILO) at the University of Saskatchewan are trying to make sure every good idea or technology
coming out of the campus has a chance to get to the marketplace.
"We accelerate the commercialization of university research and knowledge," said Schuler, ILO's managing director.
The ILO, established in 2004, is helping shepherd new technologies either by licensing the technology to existing companies or creating technology-based startup companies.
Lorna Shaw-Lennox, ILO's startup company specialist, said after a new technology comes to the office, they determine the value of the technology and do a market feasibility study.
If the results are positive, they determine what the best way would be to get the technology to market.
"If it only has one application, we don't recommend a startup," said Schuler, adding it would probably be best to licence it to an existing company. On the other hand, if the technology has more than one use, a startup company might be the best method.
Commercializing Creativity – Innovation and Technology Coming Out of the University Labs (January 15, 2012)
The University of Saskatchewan Industry Liaison Office (ILO) adds value to the economy by accelerating the commercialization of new knowledge and research. This is achieved through licensing the technology to existing companies or creating technology based companies.
Since the ILO was established in 2004, the U of S has moved into the top 12% of Canadian universities and the top 28% of North American universities for technology commercialization (source: annual survey completed by Association of University Technology Managers).
Since 2004, the U of S's licensing income has increased almost seven-fold to nearly S7.3 million per year. The ILO manages $6 million of this total, where 50% flows to inventors and the other 50% is re-invested in the U of S.
The ILO technology transfer officers and managers, with expertise in key sectors, work with researchers to evaluate new ideas and facilitate intellectual property
protection. They then identify companies interested in licensing these new technologies. Working with these companies means facilitating opportunities to directly engage researchers and create more competitive businesses, thereby improving Saskatoon’s business and innovation environment.
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