Success Story

Online and Still Innovating: Cambrian R&D Student Innovation Challenge Succeeds Again

This past April, Cambrian R&D hosted the inaugural Cambrian Student Innovation Challenge. The competition, which was a culmination of a months-long program of extracurricular learning and mentorship, gave students the opportunity to pitch their innovative business ideas to a panel of judges.

Originally scheduled to be an in-person event in March, the Cambrian R&D team and the students pivoted to a virtual model as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the course of the challenge, more than 70 people from the Cambrian and Sudbury community logged on to listen to the pitches and lend their support for our entrepreneurial students. With five ideas pitched, ranging from an intercity ride-sharing platform to an augmented reality navigation app, the judges certainly had their work cut out for them.

After careful deliberation, the judges awarded the following students and their ideas:

The winners of the grand prize ($2,500) were Gowtham Ravindran, Sarath Sontam, and Roshan Sivasankar for their Smart Vision idea. Their proposal was for a device using machine vision and a mobile application to detect objects and facial recognition in real time to assist visually impaired people. During the presentation, the team displayed an early stage prototype that demonstrated how Smart Vision would work. As a result, they also won the $250 prize for the “Best Use of Technology” prize, which was sponsored by Agilis Networks.

There was actually a tie for runner up. Splitting the second and third place prizes was Shreya Pandya’s idea for an indoor navigation app, and an idea for a sharing and buying platform known as Hunger Connect.

Shreya’s pitch was to create a mobile app that uses augmented reality to help students navigate the Cambrian campus, and could be rolled out in similarly large institutional or commercial settings. The Hunger Connect team, comprised of Harish Ramakrishnan, Vineeth Harikumar, and Bharath Dayalan, proposed using social media and community networks to help people save money on food by coordinating orders and allowing users to get discounts when buying in bulk or at a specific time. Each group received $750. The second place prize, initially valued at $1,000, was sponsored by XPS, while the third place prize, worth $500, was sponsored by The Workshop (a Greater Sudbury Utilities project).

Cambrian R&D is proud of all the students who competed and we look forward to seeing what comes next for them. If these pitches are any indication, they all have incredibly bright futures.

We would like to thank our industry partners that sponsored this year’s challenge:  XPS – A Glencore Company, Ethier Sand & Gravel, Hard-Line, Agilis Networks, sofvie, Netspectrum, and The Workshop.

We hope you’ll join us next year for the second iteration of the Cambrian Student Innovation Challenge. Stay tuned for more details in fall 2020!