The BEST Program, at the Lassonde School of Engineering, hosted the BEST Startup Experience from March 5th – March 7th. “The BEST Startup Experience offers students a unique opportunity to be immersed in solving a real problem that leverages many of the tools we teach in engineering design. It helps then harness their creative potential and develop entrepreneurial mindsets fostering a belief that that they can be changemakers” stated Dr. Andrew Maxwell, Bergeron Chair in Technology Entrepreneurship.

Hundreds of students joined this virtual, three-day, immersive learning experience and worked collaboratively to develop and design business ideas that will tackle eight UN Sustainable Development Goals using the design sprint methodology process.

Throughout the process, students were presented with the techniques, tools and templates they needed to accomplish their goals and had access to mentoring and support. 27 teams pitched their ideas at the preliminary round of judging and top 8 teams were selected to make a final pitch to the judges. Our judges included: Elliott Atkins, Karen Lai, Dr.Martin Corteau, Subashini Kangesan and Keith Loo.

Team Genesis (Kyle Rapinchuk, Rupayon Haldar, Muaath Kaadan and Muhammad Al Kermali) won the first place in the competition. Team Genesis worked to develop a service that will take ABS waste plastic and transform it into 3D printing filament which can then be resold or provided back to companies as high-quality 3D printing materials.

Team FeedMe (Saanvi Malhotra, Syed Mohammed Bilal, George Sameh Adel, Nwobi Kaosisochukwu, Walleed Khan, Oyedele Luqman) took second place. The team’s mission was to facilitate the rerouting of food waste from restaurants to people who need food using an app or website. Their start-up will be a non-profit that partners with restaurants to supply excess food to individuals as well as food banks. The app will allow restaurants to notify volunteers who will pick up the excess food and deliver it to individuals or food banks.

The third-place winners were team Gaol Diggers (Neomi Goldshtein, Suman Thar Mohamed, Luana Ribeiro Madeira, Juan-Antonio Reece, Monique Doucet). Their plan was to work with York campus restaurants and reduce the number of takeout containers used on campus by allowing students to bring their own reusable containers. The students would receive a personalized QR code sticker which they could place on a container they own. With this code, they would be able to track the number of times they use their container through an app; each use would get them points which could be used to receive discounts and prizes.

Congratulations to the winning teams and thank you to everyone who participated! We would like to thank everyone including our sponsors, community partners, judges, mentors, moderators and everyone else who brought this event to life.

BEST Startup Experience would not have been possible without our sponsors: York University’s Sustainability Office, KPM Power and Summer Fresh.