Platform Calgary was a packed house for the Newcomer Founders in Tech Pitch Competition on Wednesday evening, marking the fifth instalment of the BIPOC Rural Tech Founders event series by Innovate Calgary.
And while it was a competition of seven accomplished finalists, the event itself was more of a celebration of newcomer innovation, ideas, and camaraderie. The competition showcased seven groundbreaking companies that pushed the boundaries of innovation, technology, and social inclusion.
Judges heard compelling pitches from a variety of technology-based companies, including medical products to help reduce the effects of trauma, carbon dioxide removal and storage, and wearable medical tech.
Akpeko Gasonoo, founder of PrintedSUN Inc. took first place at the event, earning him a $3,000 cash prize. PrintedSUN Inc. specializes in cutting-edge organic materials for advanced medical sensors to facilitate light therapy for various health conditions.
“For me, winning the pitch adds more motivation to keep doing what I’m doing now,” said Gasonoo. “But getting to connect with company founders and investors has been a great opportunity.”
The significance of the event extends beyond individual victories, as it serves as a platform for newcomers to Canada to showcase their innovative work. Gasonoo emphasized that this exposure is crucial for attracting attention from investors and tech leaders, contributing to the growth of both Calgary and Canada’s economy.
In 2019, immigrant-led businesses in Alberta generated $3.7 billion, as reported by the Conference Board of Canada. Jerome Morgan, the associate director of Innovate Calgary’s Social Innovation Hub, emphasized the significance of minimizing obstacles for new immigrants entering Alberta’s growing technology and innovation sector.
“Immigrant entrepreneurs play a vital role in Canada’s economy,” said Morgan. “Founders from diverse backgrounds inject varied perspectives and expertise into the entrepreneurial landscape. Recognizing this adds substantial value to the business community, and investors should take note.”
YYC Innovation Week served as the backdrop for this event, highlighting the invaluable contributions of BIPOC founders to Calgary’s flourishing tech sector.
Congratulations to the runners-up:
The second-place prize ($2,000) was awarded to Antarpreet Singh, founder of Right Inc., a company specializing in AI-powered finance management services through a mobile app to help low-income individuals.
In third place was former BIPOC Women in Tech first place winner Kelise Williams, founder of UpRow. Her company is described as a settlement app for newcomers to Canada, which “aims to bridge the gap between their immediate needs and available services.”
Other top pitchers included:
- Milad Bakhti, founder of Recomlinked Technologies Inc.
- Purvaja Soochit, co-founder & CEO of Binoloop
- Mahmood Naser, founder of Healda Inc.
- Prathap Iyapazham Vaigunda Suba, founder of PEACH DACquiri Inc.
This event, the fifth of the BIPOC Rural Tech Founders event series, was proudly hosted by Innovate Calgary in partnership with our sponsors, including Prairies Economic Development of Canada, Interac, the University of Calgary Alumni, Calgary Innovation Coalition, Black Business Ventures Association, ElevateIP, migr8, ecommerce Canada, Africa Centre, and Shory Law.
If you are looking to partner with us on other initiatives in the BIPOC Founders event series, connect with Jerome Morgan, Associate Director, Social Innovation Hub.