As Ontario’s agri-food sector works to cope with and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, cultivating innovation and the corporations that drive it will be paramount.
To help ensure innovative agri-food startups are able to survive and continue to break new ground, the Research Innovation Office at the University of Guelph, in partnership with the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, is hosting the second annual Gryphon’s LAAIR Pitch Competition.
Set to take place on May 27 in a new online format, this year’s Pitch Competition will feature five Ontario-based start-ups pitching to the judging panel to win a total of $20,000 in prizes that can be used to help grow their businesses and drive Ontario's economy. Each competitor has roots in the University of Guelph research community and are currently bringing U of G inventions to the marketplace.
“While startup founders always need to be agile and able to pivot at a moment’s notice, the recent effects of the COVID-19 crisis have made entrepreneurial life even more tumultuous than usual,” said Dana McCauley, director of New Venture Creation, Research Innovation Office, “But without these innovators who create unique, globally relevant concepts, Ontario will fall short when it comes time to kick-start Ontario’s economy. That’s why we chose to pivot our pitch competition to an online format; cancelling because of physical distancing concerns just wasn’t an option.”
The $20,000 prize pool includes a $10,000 grand prize for the winner, which will be decided by judges Shelley King, CEO of Natural Products Canada; Joe Dales, President, Agriculture and Food Innovation, RH Accelerator Inc.; and Fred Wall, VP of Marketing for Farm Credit Canada. The competition will also feature an online voting segment to determine the $7,000 People’s Choice Prize.
Gryphon’s LAAIR online Pitch Competition is free to attend. More information on this year's competitors can be found online. Interested competitors for future competitions are invited to apply to the Research Innovation Office in early winter.