Ignite Student Entrepreneur Winner and Final Five

Photo Credit: Jason Chow Photography

Spark Innovation Centre is pleased to announce the Ignite Student Entrepreneur Winner as well as the Young Entrepreneur and General Entrepreneur finalists.

The Student Entrepreneur award is a new category for Ignite this year which celebrated student entrepreneurs currently attending a post-secondary institute in Durham Region.

Congratulations to Turnkey Aquaponics who was selected by the Power Panel as our $5,000 Student Entrepreneur Winner.

Turnkey Aquaponics designs, manufactures and installs scalable aquaponics systems for rural and industrial applications. Aquaponics is a system that combines aquaculture and hydroponics into a controlled symbiotic self-filtering, closed system. Turnkey uses innovative designs that allow for reduced water and energy consumption and year round growing in any environment.

“We are very excited to be the Ignite 2014 Student Entrepreneur Winners. Moving forward we will use the money to further proto-type our designs.” says Michael Veneziano, Co-Founder of Turnkey. “We will continue to explore the market and make contacts working to develop our business. We are extremely grateful for all the support from Spark and the Durham community for helping us grow.”

“Congratulations to UOIT students Turnkey Aquaponics as well as all of the student entrepreneurs who competed in Ignite.” said Steve Rose, Associate Dean, University of Ontario Institute of Technology: Faculty of Business and IT. “On behalf of UOIT, we are very proud of the bright, young leaders emerging from our institution.”

“Ignite is a great opportunity for student entrepreneurs to network with their peers, business leaders and industry professionals,” says Debbie McKee Demczyk, Director, Office of Research Services and Innovation at Durham College. “It provides a great opportunity for them to work toward taking their ideas to the next level. Durham College is looking forward to participating next year and seeing more great ideas from the bright minds of our community.”  

Congratulations also go out to the Ignite Final Five selected by the Power Panel to move onto the next phase.

Young Entrepreneur Finalists:

National Prostaff – National ProStaff (“NPS”), located in Ajax, is a social commerce platform for fishing enthusiasts which connects consumers with brand experts. Fishing brands are able to manage, recruit, and highlight all brand ambassadors in one place while consumers gain a great resource to make smarter buying decisions.

Zambah – Zambah is located in Oshawa and is a free music discovery platform dedicated to exposing and growing the reach of independent music across the world. Zambah has evolved into a functional app that is currently available for Android and PC.

General Entrepreneur Finalists:

Blanclink Inc. – The creators of BlancRide, a mobile app that evolves carpooling into the modern age. Using GPS and smartphone technology, BlancRide matches passengers and drivers based on similar routes. Passengers save time, drivers save money and everyone saves the environment. Blanclink is located in Oshawa.

Prometheus Healthcare* – is an Ajax-based consultancy and solutions company. Their goal is to help architect novel approaches to overcome the complex challenges facing healthcare systems today. They believe that the best solutions will make use of emerging technologies to enrich rather than replace the patient-doctor relationship.

Tiko 3D – Tiko 3D an Oshawa-based company has created an affordable and easy to use 3D printer. By continually reducing the cost and complexity of 3D printers, they hope to empower innovators and young entrepreneurs around the world.

The Final Five will participate in the Boardroom Competition on November 13th at the Whitby Council Chambers which will be the last step in their journey to $25,000. The Boardroom Competition will have all five finalists presenting their company for 20 minutes, followed by a 10 minute Q&A with the Power Panel.

After the Boardroom Competition, the Power Panel will head into deliberations where they will choose one Young Entrepreneur and one General Entrepreneur to win $25,000 each. The two winners will be announced at the Durham Region Art of Transition Creative Awards happening on November 27th at Heydenshore Pavilion in Whitby.

*Due to a technical result, GeoSight Inc., an original finalist has been eliminated from the Ignite competition. We are very pleased to have Prometheus Healthcare take the fifth spot as the next placed company chosen by the Ignite Power Panel. Spark Centre looks forward to working with GeoSight in the near future.

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