Fredericton, May 29, 2014—BDC announced today that the turning-point project, “Clear Waters,” submitted by local businessman Pat Whalen, will represent New Brunswick in the finals of the 2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award (BDC YEA).
Pat’s project will allow his biotechnology company, LuminUltra Technologies Ltd., to develop a mobile software platform integrated with GPS technology to identify and map unsafe levels of microorganisms such as bacteria in water. The data can be shared visually in real-time for rapid decision-making in order to reduce risk to public health and industrial infrastructure. To claim the $100,000 Grand Prize and drive this project forward, Pat needs votes from Canadians coast-to-coast.
LuminUltra has been getting its feet wet for years in places most have feared to tread. It has pioneered revolutionary testing kits that reduce the time it takes to test for microorganisms in water from days to mere minutes. After 10 years of market and product development, LuminUltra’s test kits and software tools can be found all over the world and their wide user base includes municipal drinking water systems and other industrial operators.
“Microorganisms come in more shapes and sizes than we can count and can make people sick, create foul tastes and odours or chew away at a variety of materials like steel and wood. Because they grow exponentially, speed and accuracy are crucial in order to reduce these risks,” says Pat. “But it’s often not enough to simply get quick results from a single water sample when you are looking at a large system that can impact a wide area, such as a drinking water distribution network underneath a city. To perform a complete analysis, you need to test at multiple locations and then visualize the results in order to identify the appropriate action.”
Pat and his team have already taken the business global, with partnerships and sales channels in dozens of countries. The next step is to address the industry challenge that remains: once a water sample is taken and tested, what’s next? The results from hundreds of individual tests must be collected, interpreted and examined to reveal unsafe levels of microbiological contamination, pinpoint the source or cause, and track how far it has spread. But this can take days, and those responsible must be able to make informed decisions quickly in order to protect public health and mitigate risk.
Through its new software division, LuminUltra now seeks to integrate data analytics, GPS and mobile connectivity to put more power in the hands of its users. Test results from the field would be submitted through mobile devices such as smartphones, integrated with GPS data and visualized on a heat-map—all within minutes—to enable timely, accurate decision-making.
“Each of this year’s finalists has shared a compelling story about how their business stands at that crucial crossroads where the right mix of vision and action can secure future growth and success,” says Michel Bergeron, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Public Affairs at BDC. “Pat and his team have already built a world-class business and they are using their deep industry knowledge and insight to create new tools that will have a huge impact on public health and safety.”
“We are changing the way people manage water safety and control the microorganisms that may pose risks to health and infrastructure,” says Pat. “We truly believe we have the reputation and specialized knowledge to bring to market a powerful new tool that will be unmatched in this industry. With your vote, LuminUltra can become a true global leader and a great Canadian success story.”
Voting for the 2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest runs from May 29 to June 12. To support your favourite project, log into the contest website and vote once a day. Follow the contest through updates on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Visit bdc.ca/awards to learn other ways in which BDC recognizes Canadian entrepreneurs. The BDC Young Entrepreneur Award winner and runner-up will be announced on June 18. The runner-up will receive $25,000 in consulting services offered by BDC.
About the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest
Created by the Business Development Bank of Canada in 1988, the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest pays tribute to remarkable Canadian entrepreneurs between 18 and 35. This year, nine finalists were selected to compete for a $100,000 Grand Prize. A second prize of $25,000 in consulting services offered by BDC will be awarded to the contest runner-up. For the first time in 2014, a national committee evaluated the quality of the finalist projects and gave each finalist a ranking that will be combined with the public vote. The national committee evaluation was weighted to account for 30% of each project’s final ranking and the public vote will account for the remaining 70% of the ranking. www.bdc.ca/yea.
Canada’s business development bank, BDC puts entrepreneurs first. With almost 2,000 employees and more than 100 business centres across the country, BDC offers financing, subordinate financing, venture capital, securitization and consulting services to more than 28,000 small and medium-sized companies. Their success is vital to Canada’s economic prosperity.
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