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First floor: Rose Innovation Hub

First floor: Rose Innovation Hub

On March 28, six teams had just 15 minutes each to convince a panel of judges that their business idea could tackle one or more of the United Nation’s 17 global goals for sustainable development.

The pitch

The second annual World’s Challenge Challenge took place in the events commons of the Rose Innovation Hub in Mitchell Hall. The challenge was hosted by the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC).

[photo of judges' table at the Queen's World's Challenge Challenge]
The judges: Ben Barrows, Dirk Rodenberg, Greg Bavington, Melanie Robb. Photo: Bernard Clark

The judges: Ben Barrows, founder and CEO, Cabot7; Director of Operations, Abraham Path Initiative; Dirk Rodenberg, entrepreneur and adjunct lecturer, Chemical Engineering and Rehabilitation Studies; Greg Bavington, Executive Director, DDQIC; and Melanie Robb,Program Manager, DDQIC.

Thesmo Waste (below) was the first team up. Tackling goal 12: responsible consumption and production, fourth-year commerce students Ushpreet Mehta and Giovanni Nunno and third-year electrical engineering student Joe Ajoy proposed to turn grocery store food waste into liquid fertilizer to sell to fruit and vegetable farms.

[photo of students presenting their business case  to judges]

Big Spoon Lil Spoon addressed goal 8: decent work and economic growth. Currently an AMS club that holds cooking classes and life-skills workshops for kids with intellectual disabilities, its members aim to create a training and certification program to help adults enter the workforce.

I AM (mending the gap) proposed a certification program for businesses and organizations committed to reducing gender inequality in athletics, combined with funding for athletic programs for girls. The team addressed goal 3: good health and well-being, goal 5: gender equality, and goal 10: reduced inequalities.

The Polymer Net Solution had a two-pronged approach to addressinggoal 14: life below water, a net placed in select riverbeds to filter out micro plastics combined with a positive financial incentive for shoppers who use their own grocery bags instead of plastic bags.

This challenge encourages the formation of teams of students from different backgrounds and areas of study who can come together to solve a global problem creatively. This year’s teams had representation from
Biomedical Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Engineering Chemistry
Global Development Studies
Management,Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Mechanical Engineering
Political Studies

The Queen’s Biomedical Innovation Team introduced Roll With It, a universal,multi-purpose assistive device for children with cerebral palsy. The team adopted an IKEA-like business model, envisioning that customers could order parts online and assemble the devices at home. Roll With It addresses goal 10: reduced inequalities.

Pastel Education targeted goal 4: quality education and goal 10: reduced inequalities.The team’s mission is to assist the teachers of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities in developing countries. It has developed animated online content and augmented reality and machine-learning technologies in its pilot program.

And the winner was...



[photo of student pitching a business idea at the WCC]

Pastel Education

The team, comprising Eric Zhang (above) and Carter McInnis, both in first-year medicine, with biology student Megan Janecka, showed that they had a viable business model with the ability to roll it out on an international level. Building on their existing tools in use in school boards across North America, the team is partnering with 1 Million Teachers, an organization that uses a “train the trainer” model for its education platform in Africa. The team aims to leverage the widespread availability of smartphones and mobile internet to provide quality teacher education anywhere.

One Million Teachers was started by Hakeem Subair, MMIE’17. The organization’s goal is to help attract, train, and retain one million teachers in developing countries.

Pastel Education moves on to the international WCC finals at Western in June. Its members also win a trip to the Boston/MIT start- up ecosystem this fall, courtesy of the DDQIC.

What else in on the first floor of Mitchell Hall?

The Côté Sharp Student Wellness Centre will soon open to provide physical and mental wellness services for students in a central and accessible location. (Student Wellness Services is currently located in the LaSalle building on Stuart Street.) Made possible by a gift from Dennis Sharp, Sc’60, and Hélène Côté Sharp, the new centre will offer a diverse suite of medical and counselling services.

[cover image of the Queen's Alumni Review issue 2, 2019, showing the 'Together' message in Mitchell Hall]