U-of-L Team Wins 2013 Chinook Entrepreneur Challenge In Tech Stream Category : B93.3 FM : Lethbridge's #1 Hit Music Station : Lethbridge News, Alberta
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U-of-L Team Wins 2013 Chinook Entrepreneur Challenge In Tech Stream Category


LETHBRIDGE:  It's a win that has a business application but, also underscores the depth of research taking place at the University of Lethbridge.


It was the first year that the Chinook Entrepreneur Challenge included a Tech Stream for technology-based businesses. Three finalists were chosen from 24 entrants that submitted business plans for the challenge. The winning plan came from the University of Lethbridge student researcher/entrepreneurs who form the Synbiologica Ltd. team.


This is the second win for the Synbiologca team, comprised of CEO Isaac Ward (3rd year, Neuroscience), first-year Biochemistry student Erin Kelly and Chemistry and Biochemistry masters students Mackenzie Coatham and Harland Brandon. They developed a new method of detecting hormones, which they expect will bring next-generation hormone detection to the research agriculture and medical market. They are in the process of patenting the the a biomedical device technology -- called “Biologically Enhanced Assay in Real-Time".


Not only did the group win $10,000 in the South Venture Business Plan Competition in March, they also took first place in the Tech Stream side of the Chinook Entrepreneurial Challenge. With that, came another $10,000, a one-year lease on space in the tecconnect Centre for New Commerce (a high-tech business incubator operated by Economic Development Lethbridge), as well as a variety of other assistance, including business consulting from MNP and ActionCOACH, and thousands of dollars in media services.


Because the biomedical technology is in a patent phase, not many details can be released. However, it is designed to improve the way in which hormones are detected and provide more accurate information in a reduced time frame. The new technology also has the potential for a wide array of applications.


Quoting a U-of-L release, Ward stated the team came up with the idea to develop the company and the new biomedical device by using the skills they learned through the iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machines) program.

“The internationally competitive program allows undergraduate students to gain hands-on experience in science,” Ward said. U of L teams have claimed several top international honours at past competitions, and three of the Synbiologica entrepreneurs are off to Boston Massachusetts, toward the end of June as advisors to the U of L's high school iGEM team. The university-level competition takes place in October, 2013 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, MA.

The Chinook Entrepreneur Challenge is an annual business planning competition hosted by Community Futures Lethbridge Region. The competition evaluates and awards business plans submitted by entrepreneurs who have taken advantage of the free business training provided by Community Futures across Southern Alberta.


On Wednesday, in Lethbridge, the Community Futures Lethbridge Region acknowledged the Synbiologica group for their win, and announced the additional winners of the Chinook Entrepreneur Challenge.  Outside of the Tech Stream Category, Lethbridge-based Ladybug Arborists took first place, while Strathmore business Kindred Companions and Lifesavers Designated Driving (Lethbridge) shared the runner-up awards.


Synbiologica Ltd. team pictured L to R: Erin Kelly, Harland Brandon, Mackenzie Coatham and Isaac Ward show off Chinook Entrepreneur Challenge aware.

Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 4/17/2014 4:36:13 PM
Source: Dori Modney (@Dori_Modney on Twitter) with files and photos courtesy Bob Cooney and U-of-L
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