Sixth annual Mayor’s Innovation Challenge winners announced

After pitching innovative ideas that contribute to making Kingston a better place to live, work, and play, two teams of post-secondary students were named winners of the Mayor’s Innovation Challenge, hosted by the City of Kingston.

In partnership with Queen’s University, St. Lawrence College and Royal Military College, the Mayor’s Innovation Challenge provides a unique opportunity for current or recently graduated post-secondary students to apply their knowledge to real-world issues and help shape the future of Kingston, according to a release from the City. 

During the Pitch Competition held on Friday, Mar. 10, 2023, at City Hall, eight teams of students presented their pitches to a group of panelists, including: 

  • Mayor Bryan Paterson, City of Kingston; 
  • Rob Beck, Client Executive, Bell Canada; 
  • Jim McLellan, Academic Director and co-founder, Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre; 
  • Dr. Wanda Costen, Dean, Smith School of Business; 
  • Anne Vivian-Scott, President and CEO, Kinarm; and 
  • Ethan Fung, CEO and co-founder, Expresume and 2022 Mayor’s Innovation Challenge winner

“We were blown away by the calibre of ideas presented by the teams during the pitch competition,” said Mayor Paterson. “I look forward to this event each year. It’s very exciting to have a front-row seat to see how the next generation is anticipating and problem-solving for Kingston’s current and future needs.” 

After deliberation, the panel announced the winning projects. Details on the winners were provided by the City: 

Smart Kingston Stream 

Strive Storage: A cloud-based storage system for vulnerable individuals to store their essential documentation and identification safely and securely, including bank cards and other data that can be easily lost or stolen. The software and device would be sold to various community agencies allowing clients to access their data at any participating agency. 

The team will receive $5,000 in seed funding to further their project, unlocked in phases as they make progress on their venture, and admission to QYourVenture, a virtual part-time program from April to November that guides participants’ entrepreneurial journey through training and phase-based milestones. 

Public Sector Innovation Stream 

Food4All: A novel web application service designed to minimize food insecurity in Kingston. By using a volunteer network, Food4All facilitates the redistribution of leftover food from fast-food chains and restaurants to homeless shelters. 

The team will receive a four-month paid internship with a municipal department within the City of Kingston. The winning team will gain access to a full slate of resources and mentorship from City staff. They will also be exposed to a variety of projects underway in the City and will have the opportunity to build skills and gain invaluable government experience applicable to any career. 

The Pitch Competition was live streamed and can be viewed on Kingston City Council’s YouTube channel. The Mayor’s Innovation Challenge was made possible through partnership and collaboration with Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre and Bell Canada.

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