uOttawa students take TVC cash

Students from uOttawa take first place and runner-up honours at this year’s annual Technology Venture Challenge (TVC), Eastern Ontario’s premier business-case competition for post-secondary students. Mohammed Rasool Qtaishat, founder of startup Water For All, won the $10,000 top prize for water desalination technology that uses a membrane distillation process to extract potable water from seawater. The novel approach, which Mr. Qtaishat claims is more efficient and cost effective than competing desalination technologies, has already attracted the interest of industry, including $286,000 in funding from the Middle East Desalination Research Center in Oman. Mr. Qtaishat’s 15 minute presentation so impressed TVC’s judges that one hailed his work as a “holy grail” that could be the answer to the critical shortage of drinking water in many parts of the world. “It’s an amazing feeling to be the winner,” says Mr. Qtaishat. “The Technology Venture Challenge is one of the greatest avenues students have to bring a good idea to market. The professors and mentors give us so much practical guidance and insight. We think we can build this company to solve one of the greatest challenges humanity is facing.” uOttawa students Majid Nagi and Altaf Khetani took one of two runner-up prizes of $5,000 for Spectra Glucose Check, meant to replace the painful and invasive glucose monitoring methods employed by millions of diabetics worldwide. Developed from Raman spectroscopy, the students’ product promises to reduce biohazard risks associated with conventional glucose testing, while cutting user costs in half. The second runner-up prize was given to the Queen’s University team of Brian Maxwell, Mike Studl and Evan Glowacki, founders of Empyrea Technologies, for designing modular robotic components that simplify robotic design and reduce associated costs. This year’s TVC drew forty entrants from Carleton U, uOttawa, Algonquin College and Queen’s. The three finalists, prepared by entrepreneur mentors, presented their technology and business plans to a panel that included VCs, lawyers and executives from Ottawa’s tech community. The event was sponsored by Carleton University Foundry Program, Celtic House Venture Partners and the Ottawa Technology Transfer Network, among others.

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