Eighteen up and coming Ontario assistive technology companies will compete for $20,000 in business development funding in Ontario Centres of Excellence’s Accessibility Tech Pitch competition, part of The Government of Ontario’s Accessibility Innovation Showcase.
“Through our numerous programs, OCE has proudly supported the development of accessibility devices and technologies for many years,” says OCE President and CEO Dr. Tom Corr. “This competition is a way to further support that development as well as a made-in-Ontario innovation.”
The showcase, which runs from August 8 to 10 at MaRS Discovery District, is the first of its kind and is an official part of the Parapan Am Games. In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, this high profile event brings together top innovators, investors, local and international dignitaries, government and the public.
“I am pleased that OCE is supporting innovators and entrepreneurs who are focused on developing cutting edge technology that will help improve the lives of persons with disabilities,” says Reza Moridi, Minister of Research and Innovation. “This competition will showcase and support the advancement of accessibility technologies, and give innovators the chance to access resources that can take their businesses to the next level.”
The companies will pitch their products to panels made up of experts and investors in two rounds at MaRS Discovery District, 101 College St. On Sunday, August 9, all 18 companies will pitch from 1:30-5 p.m. with the five best going on to the final round being held Monday, August 10 from 1:30-3:30 p.m.
For the semi-final, Tom Emrich, Founder, We Are Wearables, will serve as host.
Judges for this round are: Monica Ackermann, Senior Manager, IT Accessibility, Scotiabank; Narbe Alexandrian, Associate, OMERS Ventures; Jonathan Bega, Associate, Golden Venture Partners; Brenda Hogan, Senior Investment Manager, Ontario Capital Growth Corporation; Malcolm MacTaggart, Executive Director, Spark Angel Network; Michael Sfalcin, Investmend Director, BEST Funds; Don Wilford, Venture Partner, First Stone Venture Partners.
The finals will be hosted by Andrew Haley, a Canadian Paralympic Gold Medal-winning Swimmer.
Judges for the final are: Ian Bandeen, Vice-Chair and founder, NACO; Martin Croteau, Director, Academic Entrepreneurship, OCE; Sam Ifergan, Managing Partner, iGan Partners; Kevin Sterling, President, Keiretsu Forum Toronto; Jutta Treviranus, Director, Inclusive Design Research Centre (OCAD).