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Three teams earn top prizes at Innovation Challenge Finals

Nine teams showcased inventive solutions at exhibition-style event 

With a week to collaborate and devise solutions to global food, health and energy problems, nine student teams from across University faculties presented their unique ideas to attendees and judges at Velocity’s Innovation Challenge finals and mixer at South Campus Hall earlier this week.


Kade Truman, Rose McPherson, Nicholas Cheng and Andrew Cordssen-David, a group from engineering, science, and arts faculties, conceived an affordable and clean energy solution: a stove that draws toxins from organic compound fuel, such as from burning wood and dry cow dung, that would also reduce disease like tuberculosis.

(L-R) Nicholas Cheng, Rose McPherson, Kade Truman, Andrew Cordssen-David

Kade said working with teammates he didn’t know prior to the challenge gave him a different perspective.

“I liked the diversity of the challenge. Velocity throws you into a situation where you work with people you aren’t familiar with, on different problem areas, which emphasizes learning.”

The team won $500.

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Butt Out

Shubham Kumar, Jaya Lalwani, Chris Barclay, and Mohammad Ahmed Basri, from engineering and health faculties, invented an app to help amputees quit smoking, connecting them with community members, fellow app users and rewards for kicking the habit.  

Chris said collaborating with students whom he had not met prior to the challenge was a great aspect, as was researching the problem area. 

His teammates agreed.

“We all met on orientation day and the social impact problem spoke to us. We really wanted to solve it and the most fun part was collaborating, working on a team and getting input from experts and those with experience in entrepreneurship.”

Mohammad Ahmed Basri, Systems Design Engineering graduate student, Faculty of Engineering

The team won $250

Farm Enabler

Ghazala Mirani, Roberto Valenzuela, Krisha Brahmbhatt are planning to continue their work together after the week-long challenge during which they created a marketplace, Farm Enabler, where farmers can buy, sell, and rent equipment for extra income, to increase agricultural productivity.

(L-R) Ghazala Mirani, Krisha Brahmbhatt, Roberto Valenzuela

The team, who won $250 for their solution, agreed that the problem area merits further investigation.

“We are planning to continue to work with a mentor, who suggested a few ideas to focus on the problem — that’s how you can get different ideas and choose which solution to focus on.”

Ghazala Mirani, Masters of Management Sciences student, Faculty of Engineering.

People’s Choice

Attendees voted for Maya Nambiar, Tina Zhang, Tony Cao and Yilin Li of Seefood who won People’s Choice and Velocity swag for their farm-to-table solution that would enable the sale of produce that does not meet cosmetic standards of large distributors and grocery stores.

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