Four LaunchYU AccelerateUP graduate ventures win ventureLAB’s BOOST Award

Four graduate ventures of Innovation York’s LaunchYU 2016 cohort have won ventureLAB’s coveted BOOST Award. The BOOST program is run annually to provide $5,000 in funding to help eight entrepreneurial ventures get to market faster.

Sarah Howe, director of Innovation York

“For half of the eight awards to be granted to LaunchYU AccelerateUP graduates is exciting and really speaks to the high quality of entrepreneurs we’re developing at York University,” says Sarah Howe, director of Innovation York.

Each of the four winning ventures is focused on solving a variety of social issues, including homelessness, pollution, volunteering and skills training for vulnerable youth.

The ventures include:

Fix the 6ix is a Toronto-focused poverty alleviation project that uses a no-cost donation model to help the homeless. They have two programs: the “ReGiftcard” program, which collects and pools together donations of new and partly used gift cards to purchase necessities for shelters and those living on the street, and the “100 for the Homies” program, which collects donations of Raptors tickets after a home-game win when the tickets are redeemable for a slice of pizza. Fix the 6ix donates the tickets to homeless shelters to get pizza vouchers to those in need.

Cleanopy has developed a unique portable device that offers continuous indoor and outdoor protection from air pollution and allergens. They have developed new filters that are more effective at purifying the air from contaminants by using integrated sensors to provide pollution analytics, maintenance alerts and air curtain technology to maximize effectiveness.

Helping Hands is a platform that matches secondary school students with non-profit volunteer organizations to assist students with meaningful skill development and volunteer opportunities. They also connect volunteer organizations with eager candidates interested in helping their cause.

Representatives from the winning startups show off their prizes

CrueTV provides access to innovative, hands-on skill training workshops and creates a pipeline to careers in Ontario’s digital sector for youth facing barriers to employment.

All of these ventures have seen tremendous growth in the past 12 months and continue to exude excellence in each of their respective fields while keeping social change and innovation top of mind, says Howe.

AccelerateUP (formerly known as the LaunchYU summer accelerator) is a four-month program run in partnership with ventureLAB and YEDInstitute. It is designed to build, scale and launch entrepreneurial ventures. The goal of the program is to bring entrepreneurs together to help them grow their ventures through weekly workshops, one-on-one mentoring, monthly milestone check-ins and peer feedback sessions. At the end of the program, ventures participate in the AccelerateUP graduation where they pitch to an audience of investors, corporate executives, successful entrepreneurs and government officials.

The 2017 AccelerateUP program is now accepting applications. The deadline to apply is April 16. The new cohort will begin in early May and run through August. For additional information on the AccelerateUP program, visit launchyu.ca/accelerateup. For more information on ventureLAB BOOST program, visit venturelab.ca/boost.