New UBC Okanagan innovation hub to turn students into entrepreneurs
UBC Okanagan has recently launched a new innovation hub to help students and alumni turn ideas and concepts into new products and services.
The hub is located at the Innovation Centre in downtown Kelowna and will partner newbie start-ups with mentors, as well as offer other support services like assisting with securing grants.
Camille Saltman, director of entrepreneurship at UBC Okanagan, is excited about the possibilities.
“We just opened the Innovation UBC Hub,” Saltman said. “Within that we have e@UBC, which is our program where we bridge the university innovation that’s taking place into the marketplace. We help ventures from campus meet mentors, gain resources and contacts, and really collide with the tech community so they can get their innovations out to market.”
Several new start-ups have already started to reap the benefits of the hub.
“We were amazed that 17 deals, right out of the gate, were willing to sign up and participate,” Saltman said. “I’ve just spent some time with the National Research Council and they’re interested in funding a number of them once they complete the program.”
One of the start-ups getting noticed is SensAI, a company made up of seven UBC Okanagan students. The group is using artificial intelligence to create wearable sensor technology.
“SensAI is developing a product where fitness users at the gym can put on an armband that gives them real-time feedback as to how they’re performing in their exercises,” said co-founder Bryn Crawford. “It can help reduce injury through incorrect motions by the user. It can also help optimize a workout routine for the users, making sure they use the right motions to get the most value out of their exercise.”
The start-up is at the early stages of prototyping and team members are using the innovation hub to develop their product further.
“It’s given us access to mentors and also allows us to collaborate with researchers more efficiently,” Crawford said.
The Innovation UBC Kelowna Hub is open to researchers, undergrads, grad students, recent alumni and staff of the university.
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