Eight teams presented at the UNB Summer Institute's Demo Day on Wednesday, wrapping up a cohort that was conducted virtually because of the pandemic.
The University of New Brunswick’s TME group – whose formal name is the J Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management and Entrepreneurship – holds its Summer Institute each year, placing less emphasis on innovation than other similar programs.
Though modern accelerators usually court companies founded on new technology, the Summer Institute has made a name for itself helping small businesses with a range of business models. It has had strong success in helping companies with a consumer product or service, emphasizing the design and human components of bringing products to market.
The 12-week program, for example, has more designers-in-residence than entrepreneurs-in-residence as it helps the companies nail down their branding and the design of their products.
"Have there been ups and downs? Absolutely," said Joe Allen, Managing Director of the Accelerator Programs at UNB, at the conclusion of the program. "But the best thing I can say about them is they persevered. Like all entrepreneurs, they can take a licking and keep on ticking."
The ventures pitching on Wednesday were:
Hannah Watson and Alex Mollegard
This company produces vegan, gluten-free and all-natural snacks, aiming to provide affordable food from sustainable sources. Watson said consumers are baffled by labeling and ingredients of mass market snacks and her company offers an alternative with simple, readable ingredient lists. Its core products are powerbars and peanut butter cups and it will add a third product soon. It has doubled sales since the beginning ot the Summer Institute.
Cocktail Hero, Bouctouche, NB
Jossilyn Flewelling and Melanie Doucet
This company has produced a one-step elixir mixer for a healthy, refreshing beverage. Its first product is a premium cocktail mixer called Baktu, which combines real fruit and fresh herbs with raw organic apple cider vinegar. It is now available in three flavours: strawberry basil, blueberry lavender and respberry mint.
Formerly known as Foodona, Recoup makes paper bags and bin-liners from recycled paper waste without pulping or bleaching it. The company is developing an automatic technology to swiftly grade, cut and form paper into paper bags. Its high-speed automatic process and machines will swiftly grade, cut the papers and make 5,000 paper bags per hour. The goal is to reuse paper to reduce the cutting of new trees, create local jobs, and community involvement.
Radicle Root Herbs, Knowlesville, NB
Radicle produces herbal subscription boxes to help young families and individuals solve their independent wellness needs. Cleland, a clinical herbalist, believes that herbs are nature's gift to all living creatures. "They nourish, heal, and protect us," she says on her Facebook page. The company ships out boxes with a range of herbal products monthly or quarterly to subscribers.
Blooming Wild Organics, Bellelville, NB
Charlotte and Ryan Walker
Blooming Wild make healthy and natural skincare products using unique Canadian ingredients. The Walkers are husband and wife homesteaders with a passion for natural living, and Blooming Wild reflects their appreciation of the natural world.
A finalist in the New Ventures BC competition, Castofly is a software platform that helps teachers to quickly create and collaborate on educational videos using automation and a streamlined solution. Driven by artificial intelligence and advanced video processing techniques, Castofly delegates labor-intensive tasks such as video editing, audio enhancement, and audio-to-video synchronization to the software. The founders said the edtech market is booming due to the pandemic, adding that they have generated traction just in the past few months.
The Football Academy, Fredericton
The Football Academy is a student-athlete preparatory soccer institution for Grades 6 to 12. The company is devoted to soccer development in the Maritimes, and provides training services and online coaching to help develop players outside of soccer club practices.
Satisfied Fox Estates, Fredericton
Lucinda Hughey and David Burns
Satisfied Fox is producing novel non-alcoholic beverages with the flavour of alcohol, such as gin and vermouth. The company will retail its four products at $35 a bottle, and hopes to grow to have a manufacturing facility that is a destination for tourists. It has begun to market the product in Fredericton restaurants and hotels and got a good response.
The Summer Institute program was led by TME’s new accelerator team consisting of Joe Allen, Program Manager Inball Lev and Operations Coordinator Tanvir Kohli. Dhirendra Shukla continued in his guiding role as Chair of the TME Centre.
The cohort began on July 7.