TEC Innovation District1

Typically when entrepreneurs encounter a business problem, they have to rely on themselves and their partners to troubleshoot a solution. While a bootstrapping, do-it-yourself ethos is what launches startup companies in the first place, it’s impossible for an early-stage company to have all the expertise required in-house.

TEC Innovation District2

This is where “Ask Me Anything” at TEC Innovation District comes in. Our TEC Centre tenants and companies part of the Innovation District Launch program can now pop in at any time to get their burning questions relating to Business Development, Technology Management, or Regulatory processes. One of our Executives in Residence is also available to provide on-the-spot guidance.

The in-house experts are available every day of the week, both morning and afternoon to answer questions, no appointment needed. You don’t have to do it alone – so ask us anything!


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Anyone who’s lived through winter in Northern Alberta knows how few precious daylight hours there are in the winter months, and how short the growing season is once spring finally arrives. Now imagine being able to grow plants all year round.

G2V Optics is improving the technology that makes it possible to grow plants indoors by mimicking the sunlight conditions of locations around the world. Its grow lights offer as close a match to natural sunlight as you can get, along with the ability to replicate sunlight conditions for any location on earth.

The venture was founded by Michael Taschuk, a former research associate at the University of Alberta. “We started with solar cell testing and plant research for indoor growing and vertical farming,” he explains. “We were trying to make better solar cells, but were frustrated with the testing equipment available. It was clear that there was a better way to do it.”


The small market for solar cell testing equipment made it an unviable business venture, but food production and indoor farming remains a much bigger problem going forward.

“It was very attractive to see if we could do something there,” said Michael.

The technology uses different coloured LEDs that are precisely controlled to mimic natural sunlight.

Now just over two years old, G2V Optics made a home out of TEC Edmonton’s coworking space, TEC Innovation District. Going in, Michael wanted two things: interactions with other early-stage businesses, and coaching.

“It’s been really good, Michael says. “I’ve had really detailed coaching, which has been enormously helpful.”

Since Michael is trained as a scientist, his biggest challenge remains learning to think of G2V Optics as a business first and foremost, rather than a technical problem. Luckily, marketing help from TEC Edmonton’s Executives in Residence is helping.

“[My coach] is good at challenging my thinking and is able to frame marketing in a way that I can understand,” Michael explains.


Going forward, Michael plans to move G2V Optics into grow lights for commercial applications, farms, research space, or even windowsill growing – he’s already received a lot of interest from the orchid growing community.

We wish Michael and the best as he continues to grow G2V Optics out of TEC Innovation District!


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Group shot

The 15th VenturePrize Awards celebration on May 4th at The Westin Edmonton did not disappoint. The event showcased innovative, Alberta-based technology companies as the Alberta Student, DynaLIFE, TELUS ICT and Fast Growth Awards were given out.

As it marked the final VenturePrize event, the evening celebrated the past, present, and future of entrepreneurship by recognizing each stage of the innovation process.


For his upcoming retirement, Dr. Lorne Babiuk was honoured for his years of service as Vice-President (Research) and Chair of the TEC Edmonton Board of Directors. Allan Scott, Co-Founder of TEC Edmonton and VenturePrize, was also recognised as an early champion of Alberta’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.




The Fast Growth Award and biggest prize of the night, valued at $80,000, was presented to virtual reality company vrCAVE. vrCAVE makes virtual reality (VR) an immersive social experience by creating collaborative VR games in which players can see, touch, and hear each other while interacting with the virtual world.


In its second year, the DynaLIFE Health prize awards innovation in the Alberta health sector. Tevosol emerged as the winner for the development of the Ex-Vivo Organ Support System (EVOSS™). By keeping a donated organ in conditions that mimic the human body, the device can keep donated organs viable longer, as well as revive organs previously deemed unsuitable. With this technology, the device has the potential to double or triple the number of available donor organs worldwide.


Preza Technologies took the TELUS ICT award, which celebrates innovation in Information and Communications Technology. Preza Technologies has created a temperature monitoring system specifically for the restaurant industry that uses the latest developments in wireless technology.


The Alberta Student Award went to Squire, an online e-learning tool that aims to recapture the lost benefits of a secondary school environment by making every post-secondary campus, regardless of size, feel like a small classroom. Students can create virtual study tables to work with classmates, find tutors and get on-demand help through video calls.

The People’s Choice Award was a competitive race with companies from all competition streams included in the vote. Over 3,400 votes poured in, and Ceres Solutions emerged the clear winner with 1,173 votes in total. Ceres Solutions uses spent grain from beer brewing as a substrate to grow gourmet mushrooms. The process results in a high-quality mushroom as well as a grain with increased crude protein content.

The Screener’s Award of Merit recognizes a VenturePrize competitor at an early stage of development, and shows excellent promise. The award was presented to Good Glucos, a company that delivers affordable, high-quality diabetic test strips to customers on a monthly subscription basis. For every 12 new subscribers, Good Glucos gives away one free 12-month subscription to someone living with diabetes in need.


Since entrepreneurship is just as much about the future as the present, the 15th VenturePrize competition concluded with an additional, surprise award for three “VentureKids,” young entrepreneurs from across the province.

Kaitlyn Coen from Northern Alberta was recognized for her C-Heater invention, a blanked/backpack/bag combo developed for the homeless that holds personal belongings while protecting the wearer from the elements. Sophia Fairweather of Central Alberta is the Founder of Startup by Sophia, and has created a line of useful products using STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). The Screamin Brothers of Southern Alberta was founded by JR Wikkerink, who began selling allergen-free frozen treats to help raise money for the people of Haiti following the earthquake disaster.

After learning about how young entrepreneurs are using their talents for social good, the audience left knowing the future is in good hands.

The evening ended with each VentureKid getting the chance to showcase their innovations to attendees. “When you work in Alberta, you work with some of the best in the business,” said MLA David Shepherd in his speech earlier in the evening.

VenturePrize demonstrated the truth in this statement. Thank you to all for a great 15-year run!

Posted: Apr 3, 2019

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Train-Triggered Alert System for Conditioning and Warning Wildlife

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New Topical Therapy for Melanoma

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Novel FOXM-1 inhibitors for diagnosis and treatment of cancer

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Novel SERS-Based Biosensing platform for prostate cancer

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Hand-Held Device and Computer-Implemented Steering of a Percutaneously Inserted Needle

Description Dr. Mahdi Tavakoli and his team at the University of Alberta have developed a novel hand-held device and methods to enable real-time assisted steering of percutaneously inserted needles, such as......

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Novel Radiation-Responsive Nanoparticles for Biomedical Applications

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Flow Cytometry Sensing Using Diffracted Orders of a Grating

Description Flow cytometry is a useful tool that employed in diagnoses of various blood diseases, basic research, clinical trials or even as a “cell sorter” instrument. Currently, flow cytometry involves......

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Off-Axis Spiral Phase Mirrors To Create Vortex Beams

Description There has been an increased interest in taking advantage of the orbital angular momentum properties of light via helical wavefronts for various applications in manufacturing, imaging, and communications. By......

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Allyl Monomers And Polymers From Glycerol

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