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And here's the pitch

The Queen’s Innovation Connector Summer Initiative (QICSI) is a 17-week paid internship program where students collaborate to launch their own business. QICSI wraps up on Aug. 18 with a pitch competition where up to $30,000 in seed funding is up for grabs. Over the next two weeks, the Gazette will introduce the teams and the ventures they are developing.

The pressure is on for the Queen’s Innovation Connector Summer Initiative (QICSI) participants.

[[Queen's Innovation Connector Summer Initiative students]
Students with the Queen's Innovation Connector Summer Initiative are hard at work preparing for the pitch competition at the Isabel on Aug. 18. (Supplied Photo)

In less than two weeks, the eight QICSI teams will go head-to-head in the final pitch competition, where they will try to impress the panel of expert judges for the chance to win up to $30,000 in seed funding for their business.

“The 38 students from across many different disciplines – including two St. Lawrence College students – have worked incredibly hard over the past four months,” says Greg Bavington, Executive Director, QIC. “They have drawn on a number of tools and resources to brainstorm intriguing ideas and start turning them into viable businesses. This year’s pitch competition is shaping up to be one of the strongest in the five-year history of the summer program.”

The QICSI pitch competition will shift to an impressive new venue this year in celebration of its fifth anniversary. The event will take place at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts on Thursday, Aug. 18. The venture presentations will take place from 1-5:30 pm with the awards presentation from 5:30-7 pm.

Members of the public are invited to attend the pitch competition. Tickets are available via The Isabel website. The event will also be streamed live. The link will be posted on the QIC website on the morning of the event.

Venture profiles

Over the next two weeks, the Gazette will introduce the QICSI 2016 ventures. Below are short descriptions submitted by four of the ventures:

  • Algal blooms are choking waterways worldwide, greatly harming the fish and plants that live in them. AMALA is helping to solve this problem by creating yoga mats made from harvested wild algae. The algae fuses with foam to create a durable yet lighter yoga mat that’s perfect for everyday practice. Algae is also naturally antibacterial, removing over 99 per cent of odor-causing bacteria. AMALA is a cleaner solution for both you and the environment.
     
  • Local food producers and retailers are facing a problem. There aren’t efficient or reliable systems in place to determine adequate supply and demand, and they don’t have the time to develop an organized, expansive network to meet their needs. Foodvine has developed a software program that solves these problems by providing a database where users can connect and organize their food orders efficiently and effectively.
     
  • KAI Packs are stylish and functional backpacks made with recycled plastic from Haiti. Due to Haiti’s poor economy and waste management system, plastic is overused, improperly disposed of, and often ends up in the ocean. By partnering with a company that provides meaningful employment to Haitians to collect plastic and manufactures it into fabric, we hope to help improve living standards for Haitians and lessen plastic pollution in the ocean. We strive to encourage students to make environmentally and socially positive purchasing decisions, while raising awareness about ocean conservation.
     
  • NorthSprout is on a mission to increase the efficiency of the agriculture industry without detriment to the earth. NorthSprout is developing a gel-based germination medium that will allow seeds to grow strong and healthy faster and with less water than traditional methods. The agriculture industry is facing big changes as technology gets adopted at every stage, from robots and drones to indoor farming right down to the media in which we sow our seeds. NorthSprout couldn't be more excited to join in and shape the future of our food.