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Eight teams win seed funding at 2017 Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition

The Fitra team presents at the 2017 Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition
The Fitra team presents at the 2017 Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition (Supplied photo: James McLellan)

Eight teams of budding entrepreneurs have secured seed funding at the 2017 Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition, taking home at least $10,000 to invest in their business.

The top prize of $30,000 was awarded to Fitra, a venture that aims to retrofit health clubs with sensor technology that can track and provide feedback metrics to gym owners and facility managers, thereby keeping members motivated to reach their fitness goals.

"It seems absolutely surreal that the pitch competition is done,” says Blair Halenda (Sc’18). “Being a part of the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative 2017 cohort has been a great learning experience, and we all feel so fortunate to be given this opportunity. We are looking forward to working with our beta testers, including the Queen’s Athletic and Recreation Centre and the YMCA of Kingston, and we can’t wait to see what comes next.”

Other seed funding recipients include Spectra Plasmonics, Dream Again, and Your Mobility Innovations, who each took home $15,000, while TimberWolf Cycles, Focus Forward for Indigenous Youth, Whisk, Ozira Foods were awarded $10,000 each.

“On behalf of the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre, congratulations and a job well done to all of our participants and our pitch competition winners,” says Greg Bavington (Sc'85), Executive Director, Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre. “Every year, the quality of participants in our Summer Initiative improves and 2017 was no exception. This event is an exciting opportunity to bring together local innovation leaders and future talent to support the growth of several start-ups in our area, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for all our competitors.”

In addition to the eight Queen's student businesses competing in the pitch competition, four regional businesses also had the opportunity to compete for funding this year. This addition to the annual pitch competition was opened up through the Dunin-Deshpande gift, announced in 2016, to support regional innovation and entrepreneurship. Total available funding was also increased this year due to a $10,000 gift offered by the Faculty of Arts and Science and the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research).

“As a team we are thrilled about the win, and excited about the opportunities it will open up in the future,” says Dylan Houlden of Your Mobility Innovations. “Our next steps are product testing as well as setting up pilot tests with our early adopters and preparing for the GrindSpaceXL application process. We couldn't be more thankful for all the help we received from our mentors, from the QICSI Executive Team, and from the Queen’s Biomedical Innovations Team, as well as the opportunity to be a part of this years’ QICSI cohort. We would also like to thank our team from the Loyalist College Entrepreneurial Studies Business Launch program as they continue to show endless support.”

To learn more about all the teams which competed this year, click here.