$20,000 ONtrepreneurs Pitch Challenge Winner Announced

TORONTO, May 17, 2017 /CNW/ - Yesterday Mark Elias (Steadiwear Inc.) was awarded the winner of the Ontario Brain Institute's (OBI) ONtrepreneurs Pitch Challenge held at the Discovery 2017 conference, hosted by the Ontario Centres of Excellence.

Mark Elias was joined on Discovery's main stage at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre by The Honourable Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science and Tom Mikkelsen, President and Scientific Director of OBI, who together presented the award, which includes $20,000 to be used towards business and product development.

"This challenge is a great example of how entrepreneurship can manifest in any sector, including neuroscience. Our government is proud to support the important work of the OBI, and congratulates each competitor as they strive to make Ontario a world leader in brain research and commercialization." — Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science.

The five finalists, named below, had three minutes to use their pitching skills to showcase their innovative technologies and impress the panel of judges. The judges included Geneviève Lavertu, Senior Director of Medtronic Care Management Services – Canada; Jung-Kay Chiu, Partner, Patent Agent, Lawyer, Trade-mark Agent of Norton Rose Fulbright; Alison Fenney, Executive Director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization; and Jonathan Rezek, Business Development Executive for Innovation of IBM Canada.

The finalists are participants from the OBI ONtrepreneurs (Ontario Neurotech Entrepreneurs) Program, a program that supports Ontario's next generation of entrepreneurs in accessing funding to help launch or grow their neurotechnology start-up company. The 12-month program awards $50,000 cash and includes mentorship, training, and a number of value-added opportunities to fuel the entrepreneurial spirit in commercializing neurotechnologies.

The finalists also participated in Discovery's first NeuroTech Ontario Zone, which showcased over 12 companies with leading-edge neurotechnologies ranging from medical devices to help prevent concussions, to sophisticated software that can predict, with high accuracy, cognitive impairment through speech.

"Ontario has a fast growing neurotechnology cluster that is contributing to our economy and the well-being of our citizens. The participants in this pitch challenge are evidence of the talent and innovation being fostered throughout the province. We are proud to work with OCE, the Ministry of Research, Innovation, and Science and other partners to support the development of entrepreneurs and their neurotechnologies toward collective impact." – Dr. Tom Mikkelsen, President and Scientific Director, Ontario Brain Institute.

"This year the ONtrepreneurs Pitch Competition brought some incredible innovations in the neurotechnology sector to the OCE Discovery conference. All of the companies that participated in the NeuroTech Ontario Zone should be proud of their accomplishments as they look to improve the lives of many using emerging and existing technical and computational tools."  - Dr. Tom Corr, President and CEO, OCE.

Named Canada's Best Trade Show in 2010, 2011, and 2016, and celebrating 12 years of bold, new ideas, OCE's Discovery is Canada's premier innovation showcase. It brings together the best and brightest minds in industry, academia, investment and government to showcase leading-edge technologies, best practices and research in the areas of energy, fintech, cleantech, the environment, advanced health, digital media, information and communication technologies and advanced manufacturing. The annual conference and showcase attracts more than 3,500 attendees and 500 exhibitors.

For more on Discovery, visit www.ocediscovery.com.

ONtrepreneurs Pitch Challenge 2017 Finalists
(listed alphabetically by company name):

  • Arjun Mali, iMerciv Inc.
    • iMerciv empowers those living with blindness or partial sight through innovative assistive technology. Their product, the BuzzClip, is a small and discreet wearable for people that are blind or partially sighted.
  • Robert Brooks, SensOR Medical Laboratories Ltd.
    • SensOR Medical Laboratories designed a force-sensing skin tool to give surgical residents and students feedback to learn faster, and allows experienced surgeons to better monitor and standardize their work.
  • Mark Elias, Steadiwear Inc.
    • Steadiwear Inc. has created a glove that is designed to responsively stabilize the wrist joint in essential tremor and Parkinson's disease and reduce hand tremors.
  • Theo Versteegh, TopSpin Technologies Ltd.
    • TopSpin has developed a neuromuscular training device for the neck to help prevent concussions by increasing neck strength to absorb more force and therefore decrease the amount of acceleration transferred to the brain during unexpected events.
  • Liam Kaufman, Winterlight Labs Inc.
    • Winterlight Labs has developed an assessment using short, one-to-five-minute recordings of verbal picture descriptions, to quantify changes in language associated with cognitive decline and mental health issues.

About the Ontario Brain Institute:

The Ontario Brain Institute is a provincially-funded, not-for-profit research centre seeking to maximize the impact of neuroscience and establish Ontario as a world leader in brain research, commercialization and care. We create convergent partnerships between researchers, clinicians, industry, patients, and their advocates to foster discovery and deliver innovative products and services that improve the lives of those living with brain disorders.

For more info on the ONtrepreneurs Program, visit http://www.braininstitute.ca/ontrepreneurs-ontario-neurotech-entrepreneurs-program

About Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc.

OCE drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario's global competitiveness. In doing this, OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario's industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, investors and governments. A champion of leading-edge technologies, best practices and research, OCE invests in sectors such as advanced health, digital media and information communications, advanced manufacturing and materials, and cleantech including energy, environment and water. OCE is a key partner in delivering Ontario's Innovation Agenda as a member of the province's Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). Funded by the Government of Ontario, the ONE is made up of regional and sector-focused organizations and helps Ontario-based entrepreneurs rapidly grow their company and create jobs.

SOURCE Ontario Brain Institute

For further information: Media Contact: Jordan Antflick, Manager, Knowledge Translation, t: 647.872.1210, jantflick@braininstitute.ca; Andrew Robertson, Manager, Media Relations, t: 416.861.1092 x 1092, andrew.robertson@oce-ontario.org

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