Macdonald start-ups win big at McGill’s Dobson Cup entrepreneurship competition

News

 

| EDUARDO GANEM CUENCA and KATHY MACLEAN

Students from McGill’s Macdonald Campus seem to have figured out the winning combination of talent, skills, risk –and above all, the unwavering determination it takes to convert an idea into a viable business venture.

YUMiTRITION co-founders Yin Hong (PhD candidate, Human Nutrition) and Zoey Li (BSc(Nutr) U3, major Dietetics) claimed the $15K top prize in the Small to Medium Size Enterprise Track of the McGill Dobson Cup Entrepreneurship Competition for their business venture. YUMiTRITION is a monthly subscription food box and online support community for people with blood sugar control needs. Their monthly food boxes contain uniquely flavoured grain and granola mixes that they develop, along with snacks and easy to follow recipes to pair with their grain mixes. Each month contains a different combination of mixes and snacks, thereby making every month tastefully unique!

YUMiTRITION also received the inaugural Food and Agribusiness Convergent Innovation Prize. The $5,000 prize was established this year under a fruitful partnership between the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the McGill Centre for the Convergence of Health and Economics.

Students Loloah Chamoun (BSc(FSc)’15), Niruya Kumarasamy (MSc, Food Science), Homeiraa Waheed (MSc, Food Science), and Tien My Lisa Lam (MSc, Food Science) took third place in the Social Enterprise Track with Ent-O-Mix. The team, who won the  International Food Technologists ‘Sustainable Solutions for Developing Countries’ competition held in Chicago last summer, aims to alleviate malnutrition through its nutrient dense instant mixes that, when mixed with water, produce traditional dishes like hummus and falafel. The products are nutritionally enhanced with insect flour to improve the protein and iron profile.

Graduate student and one of the co-founders behind Polar Labs, Kimberly Alizadeh (MSc, Biotechnology), topped off the Faculty’s performance in the competition by claiming the coveted Grit Prize – awarded to a team which demonstrates outstanding dedication towards establishing their business venture.  Polar Labs, a McGill-based R&D company makes freeze resistant products by combining engineering and microbiology principles. Their first product, ‘Snowcrete’ aims to revolutionize the construction industry by allowing contractors to pour and set concrete at temperatures significantly lower than currently possible. This is the second year in a row that the Grit Prize has been awarded a team with a Macdonald connection.

All three teams have benefitted from tailored advising, mentorship, and funding provided through the Faculty’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program.

We are proud to be at the forefront of the agribusiness and environment start-up scene in Montreal. To learn how you can get involved as a student, a mentor, donor, or investor, please contact Program Director Eduardo Ganem Cuenca by eduardo.ganemcuenca [at] mcgill.ca (email) or phone: (514) 398-8779.