Connecting start-ups for growth at Connect '09

BRITISH COLUMBIA, Oct. 20 /CNW/ - Connect '09, the BC Innovation Council's (BCIC) premier event for technology start-ups and innovators took place Monday, October 19 in Vancouver. Over 650 members of BC's robust tech industry - from early stage start-ups to venture capitalists to CEOs of globally recognized technology companies - were in attendance.

"The BC Innovation Council is committed to supporting the advancement of ideas and technologies of BC's brightest to their ultimate goal of investment-ready companies," said Dean Rockwell, CEO of BCIC. "We are grateful to members of BC's science and tech community for their involvement in Connect '09 and for their role in helping to shape and strengthen our province's tech sector."

Connect '09 featured four expert panel sessions, each crafted to benefit start-ups at varying points along their path to commercialization. Each panel featured local experts who volunteered their time and expertise to benefit Connect '09's knowledge-hungry audience. A unique networking component featuring another 33 prominent technology leaders from some of BC's most successful tech companies and business accelerators, including Yaletown Venture Partners, Nexterra Inc., and Bootup Labs. For two hours, these leaders mixed and mingled with Connect '09 attendees, offering words of wisdom in the forms of feedback and advice.

"I'd like to congratulate the recipients of the 2009 BC Innovation Council Awards for their exceptional achievements in the commercialization of technology," said Iain Black, Minister of Small Business, Technology and Economic Development. "British Columbia's emerging technology companies are producing extraordinary results, and with the support of the BC Innovation Council they will continue to strengthen BC's position in the global knowledge economy."

Capping off the evening's festivities was the presentation of the annual BC Innovation Council Awards.

    
    The 2009 BCIC Award winners are:

    BCIC Ripples of Hope Award in Biotechnology & Entrepreneurship
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    Winner:   Mahmoud Pouladi, Centre for Molecular Medicine and
              Therapeutics, The University of British Columbia

              The recipient of this award is a driven scientist with a keen
              mind. He is a bright PhD student at CMMT with a strong record
              of productivity; as a young scientist he has already published
              12 peer-reviewed papers. His ability to recognize the
              commercial potential in scientific research led to the
              submission of a patent application for an HD biomarker test.
              The goal of the project from which this commercial application
              arose was to examine the underpinnings of body weight changes
              in HD. His recognition of the potential commercial application
              is a testament to his acute sense for entrepreneurship.

              He has been a strong promoter of science within the community.
              He appeared on the Jenn and Joe show on CFUN 1410 AM to promote
              the "Hike 4 Huntington's" and leads tours through his research
              lab. Previously as Editor-in-Chief of UBC's Graduate magazine,
              he carried his message to over 5,000 monthly readers.
    

About the BCIC Ripples of Hope Award: This award is a partnership with Dr. Michael Hayden, Director of the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutic. The award provides an internship opportunity to a trainee, supporting them in developing their career in entrepreneurship and commercialization in a biotechnology company in British Columbia.

    
    Emerging Technology Award
    -------------------------
    Winner:   Lungpacer Medical Inc.
              Dr. Andy Hoffer
              Founder and Chief Scientific Officer
              Professor of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, SFU

              Lungpacer Medical Inc. was recognized for its Transvasular
              Diaphragm Pacing System. Its system has been developed to
              assist with the mechanical ventilation of critically ill
              patients in hospital intensive care units. Lungpacer electrodes
              are intravenously inserted into the body of a patient to
              rhythmically pace the diaphragm. This prevents or reverses
              rapid atrophy that can occur with muscle disuse in these
              patients. The Lungpacer technology results in faster recovery
              of a patient's ability to breathe naturally, allowing them to
              leave intensive care sooner, thereby lowering hospitalization
              costs.
    

About the Emerging Technology Award: This award recognizes a new venture at the pre-investment stage that has developed an innovative technology in BC. The Emerging Technology Award is valued at $25,000 which is to be used towards commercialization services for the technology.

    
    Entrepreneurship Fellow Award
    -----------------------------
    Two Entrepreneurship Fellows were recognized in this inaugural year of
    the award:

    Winner:   Dr. Brad Buckham
              Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
              University of Victoria

              Dr. Buckham's entrepreneurship activities address the
              engineering challenges that impact on humans' experiences with
              the ocean. His innovations involve cabled ocean structures,
              computer simulations, remotely operated vehicles, wave energy
              and ocean infrastructure. He collaborates with the Canadian
              Scientific Submersible Facility and Ocean Network Canada's
              Neptune project; and he leads the West Coast Wave Collaboration
              Program.

              Together with student and graduate researchers, Dr. Buckham
              founded a company that uses simulation to reduce human,
              economic and environmental risk for small and start-up ocean
              technology companies. He is also co-inventor of SyncWave Power
              Resonator which harnesses wave energy for sustainable power
              generation.

              Dr. Buckham is noted for his ability to connect people and
              organizations to move ideas out of the laboratory and into
              application in the complex and demanding ocean environment. His
              entrepreneurship has helped to place BC at the forefront of
              global marine knowledge and technology development.

    Winner:   Dr. Gerri Sinclair
              Executive Director of the Masters of Digital Media Program
              Centre for Digital Media

              Dr. Sinclair's career spans the fields of Internet and new
              media technology, entrepreneurship, academic research and
              government policy. She has made incubation and
              commercialization of student innovations a focus of the Masters
              of Digital Media Program. The program also provides
              commercialization services to local and international digital
              media companies.

              Dr. Sinclair brings extensive experience to her position at the
              Centre for Digital Media. She was the first president of the
              Premier's Technology Council, has held esteemed positions at
              Microsoft Network Canada and IBM. She is also a founding
              director of the ExCITE Lab at Simon Fraser University and
              Founder and CEO of NCompass Labs.

              Dr. Sinclair is noted for her ability to generate the ideas
              that will become tomorrow's innovations and her scope is
              global, in that sense, she is an international entrepreneur of
              ideas. Dr. Sinclair serves as a model for the entire technology
              community in British Columbia.
    

About the Entrepreneurship Fellow Award - This award recognizes a permanent faculty member at a BC postsecondary institution who is a leader in technology innovation and commercialization. This honorary award offers $20,000 to the named fellow to be used for entrepreneurship education or commercialization initiatives at their institution.

    
    Student Business Plan Awards
    ----------------------------
    Winner:   Non-Rejectable Engineered Skin Substitute, Department of
              Surgery, UBC
              Technology Innovator: Dr. Farshad Forouzandeh, UBC
              Business Plan Collaborators: Hoby Chou and Octavia Yung, SFU

              Non-Rejectable Engineered Skin Substitute is a naturally-
              engineered skin substitute for use in treating burns, ulcers,
              and other non-healing wounds. Cultured from human skin cells
              sourced from a live donor, the substitute is available off the
              shelf. It significantly reduces the waiting period for a
              permanent skin graft, and it eliminates the need for
              immunosuppressive drugs.

    Winner:   Panovex
              Technology Innovators: Mahsa Pourazad, Dept. of Electrical and
              Computer Engineering, UBC
              Hagit Schechter, Dept. of Computer Science, UBC

              Panovex's first product, Ziaxis, is an embedded system on
              chipsets for stereoscopic mobile phones. It reduces the gaps
              between the capabilities of mobile games and those of console
              and PC gaming. Ziaxis introduces realistic gaming environments
              using animations that follow the laws of physics, such as
              object collisions, lava eruption, fire and smoke. The gaming
              data is interactively produced and displayed on stereoscopic
              display, combining realism and fantasy to create new and
              exciting experiences.

    Winner:   High Performance XML Processing Technology
              Technology Innovator: Ken Herdy, Dept. of Computing Science,
              SFU
              Business Plan Collaborator: Patrick Lam, SFU

              As the volume of XML network traffic continues to grow, the
              demand for the high performance XML processing solutions is
              increasing. This innovation exchanges data on the Internet and
              corporate information networks in a platform neutral manner. It
              obtains significant performance gains through the Single
              Instruction Multiple Data capabilities of multicore commodity
              processors.
    

About the Student Business Plan Awards: The BCIC Student Business Plan Awards recognize the top business plans produced by BCIC graduate scholarship recipients for the commercialization of technology innovations. The recipients include BCIC Innovation Scholars who are leading science and technology graduate students who have developed innovations that have the potential for commercialization.

Connect '09 also showcased emerging innovations from academic institutions in BC and a feature address by Leonard Brody, an internationally recognized technology entrepreneur, venture capitalist and best-selling author.

BCIC would like to thank the sponsors of Connect '09 for their generous support.

About the BC Innovation Council:

The British Columbia Innovation Council (BCIC) is the lead organization charged with driving the commercialization of new technologies in British Columbia. BCIC is focused on accelerating the growth of our science and technology communities and competitively positioning British Columbia in the global science and technology economy in order to provide significant employment opportunities and a high standard of living for British Columbians. BCIC is a Crown agency of the Province of British Columbia. For more information about BCIC, visit www.bcic.ca.

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/

SOURCE BC Innovation Council

For further information: For further information: Media Contact: Lindsay Thom, (604) 602-5249, (604) 551-9068, lthom@bcic.ca


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