Montreal, QC —Five up-and-coming researchers-turned-entrepreneurs are being recognized for their efforts to turn their groundbreaking discoveries into innovative businesses that impact the lives of Canadians.
The awards, presented by Mitacs — a national innovation organization that fosters growth by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions — on June 2, celebrate start-up companies founded by outstanding former Mitacs program participants, who have gone on to become leading entrepreneurs and business owners in their respective fields.
“Small businesses and entrepreneurs are critical to Canada’s success and the economic recovery. The Mitacs Entrepreneurs Award winners are making a difference in the healthcare, environmental and natural resources sectors. I am thrilled to congratulate them on their accomplishments and well-deserved awards,” said the Honourable Mary Ng, International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business, and Economic Development. “Mitacs is an integral part of Canada’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. It supports young people by giving them opportunities to gain experience in innovation and entrepreneurship allowing them to make a real difference.”
“To build on Canada’s growing success, we need to mobilize and invest in the best,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “The 2022 Mitacs Entrepreneur Awards outline how supporting Canadians will build a better and brighter future. The innovation, ambition and skills demonstrated in these talented entrepreneurs shows a bright future for Canadians and serves as inspiration to Mitacs interns to seize opportunities and continue trailblazing discoveries.”
The five 2022 Mitacs Entrepreneur Award winners are:
Outstanding Entrepreneur: Nicolas Olmedo, who completed his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Alberta and is one of three co-founders of Copperstone Technologies Inc. Olmedo’s company has developed groundbreaking intelligent cleantech robots capable of traversing mud, snow, ice or rock with the goal of keeping people safe by sending robots where no human should ever have to go. Olmedo’s robots are aimed at helping industrial companies and mines continually monitor their waste areas for potential environmental hazards in spite of extremely dangerous terrain, simultaneously saving them valuable time and resources.
Change Agent Entrepreneur: Pascal McCarthy, a Mitacs intern who earned his Master’s in Science and Engineering at the University of New Brunswick, and is now the Founder of Parados Cerebral Solutions Inc. McCarthy is filling a gap in the medical system when it comes to treating sports injuries and concussions with a first-of-its-kind AI-based platform that gets to the root cause of athletic performance and injury problems by analyzing and improving both the way athletes move and their mental wellbeing. His state-of-the-art technology is already being used by early adopters in Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and Professional Golfers’ Association.
Social Entrepreneur: Karina Gasbarrino, who completed her PhD in Experimental Medicine at McGill University and now serves as co-founder and COO of digital health start-up, PLAKK Inc. Gasbarrino is being honoured for her breakthrough work to improve early prediction and prevention of strokes with a first-of-its-kind tool that uses cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) and image analysis technologies. Her cloud-based system more accurately examines harmful fatty deposits in the arteries of the neck, which – when ruptured – are the main cause of strokes.
Global Impact Entrepreneur: Juliette Champeil, who is pursuing her PhD in Chemical Engineering at Laval University while serving as co-founder and CEO of Ivano Bioscience. Champeil is speeding up the time it takes pharmaceutical companies to get vaccines — such as COVID-19 vaccines — to market by giving them a safer, easier and quicker way to evaluate their products. Her ready-to-use lab test kits come pre-loaded with bioengineered artificial cells and viruses designed to mimic real life, eliminating the need for scientists to wear extreme protective equipment and work in state-of-the-art, biosafe facilities, and reducing the delivery of test results from days to hours.
Environmental Entrepreneur: Iris Redinger, a Mitacs intern who earned her Bachelor of Architecture at Waterloo University and went on to launch her start-up company Material Futures. Redinger is reducing the environmental impact of the fashion industry — estimated to account for roughly 20 percent of industrial wastewater pollution worldwide — by bringing an all-natural dyeing solution to market. Her disruptive process, the first-of-its-kind bio-colour platform, uses microorganisms to “grow” colour. The end products are fully biodegradable colorants that can be easily substituted into existing manufacturing processes.
“Mitacs is committed to helping up-and-coming innovators through their entrepreneurial journey, and we’re extremely proud of the remarkable accomplishments of each of this year’s award winners,” said Mitacs CEO John Hepburn, adding that 20 percent of Mitacs interns successfully turn their innovations into start-ups. “The success of our country’s entrepreneurs in commercializing groundbreaking innovations not only goes a long way in boosting Canada’s economic future but also helps put Canada on the map as a research and innovation leader.”
Mitacs is a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions. It is funded by the Government of Canada along with the Government of Alberta, the Government of British Columbia, Research Manitoba, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, Innovation PEI, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Saskatchewan and the Government of Yukon. For information about Mitacs and its programs, visit mitacs.ca/newsroom.