Since 2019, the Research Innovation Office at the University of Guelph has worked to cultivate and accelerate innovation within Ontario’s agri-food sector by showcasing emerging talent and technologies through its annual Gryphon’s LAAIR Innovation Pitch Competition.
Similar to last year’s competition–which was attended by almost 500 agri-food professionals–the 2021 iteration will take place online featuring five Ontario-based start-ups pitching to a group of internationally recognized judges for a chance to win the $10,000 grand prize.
Additionally, as part of the new festival format, the Gryphon’s LAAIR Pitch Competition videos are now being released in advance of the competition for the first time since its inception. Viewers will be able to watch pitches until May 14, after which online voting will open up from May 14 to 19 for this year’s $2,500 People’s Choice Award.
“The agri-food sector is Ontario’s number one economic driver. Employing over 860,000 Ontarians and contributing $47 billion in GDP,” notes Dana McCauley, director of New Venture Creation at the University of Guelph’s Research Innovation Office. “It’s so exciting to see our The Gryphon's LAAIR program creating the fuel for that economic engine. Our pitch teams turn their research into innovation that ensures agri-food stays a strong and vibrant sector.”
Also new for this year’s Pitch Competition is the addition of Eat North founder and The Globe and Mail restaurant critic Dan Clapson, who will be joining the fray to emcee the main event on May 19.
The University of Guelph has also begun delivering a daily dose of innovation-related stories to the Research Innovation Festival landing page, including previous Innovation of the Year award-winners, success stories about academic entrepreneurs, breaking news about recent research breakthroughs, and more.