Eight high-potential social enterprise ventures to pitch for $25,000 in awards at Discovery 2017

TORONTO, April 20, 2017 /CNW/ - Eight Ontario-based social enterprise ventures will compete for $25,000 in awards at Ontario Centres of Excellence's (OCE's) second annual Social Enterprise Pitch Competition, being held on May 15 at Discovery 2017.

The competition is part of the third annual Social Enterprise Zone hosted by OCE at Discovery, which runs May 15-16 at Metro Toronto Convention Centre in partnership with the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth (MEDG). The Zone will showcase the innovations of 24 social enterprises from across the province. Exhibiting companies gain invaluable access to experts, industry, government funders, investors and networking opportunities.

"By supporting initiatives like the Social Enterprise Zone and Pitch Competition, we are accelerating the growth of scalable social enterprises in this vital sector. It is important that these enterprises, with their positive social and environmental impact, are able to grow and help Ontarians in their everyday lives while thriving as viable businesses," says Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Growth.

The Social Enterprise Pitch Competition solicited applications from Ontario-based for-profit or non-profit social enterprise ventures with a scalable business model at an early or growth stage. The finalists were chosen for their demonstrable and measurable social/environmental impact across various sectors, including clean technology, education and social technology, and health and wellness

"OCE is proud to build on the success of last year's social innovation pitch competition and continue to support the development of innovative technologies that are solving important social and environmental challenges along with contributing to a better quality of life in Ontario," says Dr. Tom Corr, OCE's President and CEO. 

On May 15, the eight competition finalists will be given six minutes to pitch their innovative product or service to a judging panel comprised of investors, leaders in the social innovation community and OCE representatives. A three-minute question-and-answer period will follow each pitch.

The competition winner will receive an award package valued at $25,000, including $10,000 from MEDG, a $5,000 award from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and a $10,000 legal-services package from Norton Rose Fulbright to assist with the further development of their social enterprise.

The eight finalists are:

  • 3D4MD

3D4MD's vision is to impact over 1 billion people by using low-cost technologies to save lives, time and money. A for-profit social enterprise, 3D4MD's mission is to use 3D printing, drones, and other low-cost technologies to make sustainable solutions to reduce poverty and deliver healthcare in the most challenging places to those who need it the most.  3D4MD is building an "iTunes" tiered pricing library of crowd-sourced, quality-tested solutions for unlimited humanitarian use.

  • EMAGIN

EMAGIN provides water utilities with an operational intelligence platform to enable smarter management of their water and sanitation infrastructure in real time. The platform leverages artificial intelligence to create real-time actionable insight and recommendations with the objective of reducing energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as enhancing public safety and emergency preparedness.

  • Green Story Inc.

Green Story is a visual storytelling solution that helps green companies connect with their customers. Less than 10 per cent of consumers who want to buy green products end up doing so. Through Green Story's platform, customers use visual storytelling and credible data to make positive environmental and social impact more personal and relatable. This increases the likelihood of consumers following through on their green purchasing plans and having a positive impact on the environment.

  • The Growcer

The Growcer is a social enterprise that empowers remote communities to produce their own food locally. Innovative hydroponic technology allows Growcer to retrofit 40-foot shipping containers to grow over five tonnes of produce annually in temperatures as cold as -55 degrees Celsius. Growcer focuses on high-yield, year-round production as well as local training and nutrition education modules to maximize value for remote communities and institutions.

  • Growing North

Sixty-eight per cent of Northern Canadians struggle to feed their families every day. Growing North tackles food insecurity by making sustainable local food products possible in the North through greenhouse infrastructure and employment opportunities. Their methods and efforts stem directly from community-identified issues and result in positive social, economic and environmental change.

  • Link2Feed

2,700 organizations. 37 million transactions. Over 1.3 million lives touched...Link2Feed believes food is just a catalyst to a better life and that non-profits play a vital role in long-term poverty reduction. As a result, Link2Feed developed technology that enables organizations to understand exactly how emergency food helps to alleviate poverty and change lives. Their long-term social vision is to use the data gathered in their software to create the first metric on hunger in developed nations.

  • Ulula

Ulula is a software and analytics provider for businesses seeking to measure and monitor human rights violations in global supply chains. Ulula leverages simple mobile technologies to turn worker voices into business intelligence to advance the creation of more transparent and ethical supply chains.

  • Wully Outerwear

Wully Outerwear creates made-in-Toronto winter jackets that use environmentally friendly advanced tech fabrics designed to perform in the coldest conditions while respecting wildlife.

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 premiere 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.

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 Centres of Excellence Inc.

For further information: Media Contact: Andrew Robertson, Manager, Media Relations, t: 416.861.1092 x 1092, andrew.robertson@oce-ontario.org

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