Yukon College’s Cold Climate Innovation centre is this year’s winner of Startup Canada’s Entrepreneur Support award in the B.C./North region.
The award is given to academic institutions, government organizations or a not-for-profit business that works to advance entrepreneurship in its region through its “leadership, innovation and impact.”
“It’s certainly an honour to have been selected for the award,” said Jason Rayner, technology innovation officer with the Yukon Research Centre.
As a winner, Cold Climate Innovation (CCI) gets a statuette, the opportunity to network at the awards ceremony in Vancouver, and consideration for a national startup award.
CCI came into being about half a decade ago under director Stephen Mooney.
Housed in the Yukon Research Centre at Yukon College, CCI aims to stimulate the Yukon economy by helping innovators make their ideas a reality.
It does this through funding, mentorship, and by fostering partnerships between researchers, industry and government.
A focus of CCI is to assist in the development of sustainable, cold climate technologies that address issues relating to food security, cold climate housing, energy and environmental remediation in the
Some notable projects with CCI involvement this year include a permafrost thaw detector, a solar energy project in Old Crow, build-your-own greenhouse kits for northern climates, and energy efficient
wall systems for residential and commercial spaces and greenhouses.
One project that’s on its way to market is a devise that removes plastic from compost.
The made-in-the-Yukon product was in the design and prototyping stages for a number of years, said Rayner, and recently it was picked up for manufacturing and distribution by Vermeer, an American
industrial and agricultural equipment company.
The Yukon College startup also had a hand in a power-monitoring ski pole that measures athletic performance.
In total, CCI is a player in about 40 different projects per year, several of which are aimed at improving life and reducing the human footprint in the North through research and technology.
“Startup Canada Award winners and runners-up are architects of a better future for Canada for entrepreneurs,” said the CEO of Startup Canada, Victoria Lennox, in a Monday statement announcing CCI’s
win. “As champions of the entrepreneurship movement, they deserve to be celebrated to the highest degree.”
Startup Canada is a network of entrepreneurs working to enhance startup culture and support fellow innovators across sectors and throughout the country.
The organization is connected to more than 120,000 entrepreneurs in Canada, according to its website.
More than 50 people and companies were announced as regional winners this year, in the third annual Startup Canada Awards.
The regions are B.C. and the North, the Prairies, Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic.
Other Yukon winners are Jack Kobayashi and Tony Zedda of Whitehorse-based KZA Architects.
The design duo behind Carcross Commons, the Tr’ondek Hwech’in Cultural Centre and the Canada Games Centre won the Entrepreneur of the Year award for “exemplifying the spirit of Canadian
entrepreneurship” in B.C. and the North.
A ceremony for the B.C. and northern winners will take place in Vancouver on October 24.
Other winners in the region include Mealshare, a B.C.-based organization that partners with restaurants and raises funds to feed youth in need. Mealshare won the Social Enterprise Award.
Awake Labs out of Vancouver won the Young Entrepreneur award for Reveal, a piece of wearable technology in the form of a wristband that helps people with autism track anxiety through changes in the
body as a way to avoid overstimulation and “meltdowns.”
After the regional awards ceremonies this fall, regional winners from across Canada will be put to a national adjudication committee.
National winners will be recognized at the Startup Canada Grand Finale Awards in Toronto on November 29.