SingularityU Announces Two Canadian Global Impact Challenge Winners
07 Apr 2017
The following article was written by Jessica Galang and originally posted on
On Tuesday, Singularity University announced that it is launching its inaugural summit in Canada. Taking place in October, the Summit will work to promote SingularityU’s mission of encouraging entrepreneurs to take on global challenges using technology.
As part of that mission, SingularityU hosted its Canada Global Impact Challenge, which invited five entrepreneurs to pitch for a scholarship to SingularityU’s Global Solutions Program. The winner is guaranteed reserved admittance to the 9-week program — limited to 80 students around the world — located at NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley.
Taking place at city hall in Toronto, the event invited keynote speakers like futurist Nik Badminton and Leerom Segal, CEO of Klick.
“Canadians need to be more courageous and really punch above our weight to ensure that the next 25 years of our future are going to be even better than the last 15 years,” said Oren Berkovich, co-founder of the Singularity U Canada Summit. “This is very much about moonshots, and how each of the people here in this room and others have the access to technology, to talent, and capital to create solutions that will impact millions of people.”
The five finalists included ITRES Research chief scientist Stephen Achal, who is developing small satellites that detect wildfires; AlgaeCan Biotech founder James Irwin, who is leveraging microalgae to generate higher yields in farms; Indigenous Housing and Mortgage Corp founder Ed Champion, who proposed building 3D-printed, solar-powered homes for Indigenous communities; Meo president Zachary Lefevre, whose company offers personalised, all-inclusive electric vehicle charging solutions for businesses and individuals; and Cynthia Liao, who is developing an intelligent energy storage optimization software that offsets peak demand and creates micro-grids in communities.
Andrea Palmer, founder of Awake Labs and Canada’s Global Impact Challenge winner in 2015, presented the awards. While the event was only supposed to have one winner, in the end, two were chosen. “I’m sure if the judges could have chosen all five of you, they would have,” Palmer said.
The first finalist spot, sponsored by the organizers of the event, was presented to Lefevre, while the second finalist spot sponsored by Singularity U was presented to Champion.
“We’re on a mission to expose many more Canadians to this mindset, and really build a bridge between Singularity University in Canada,” said Berkovich.