Last week, Velocity hosted a unique competition that challenged students and alumni to sink their teeth into important industry issues, with relative commercial opportunity for improvement.

According to Kristina Tisma, Velocity’s Programs Assistant, the Problem Pitch Competition provides an opportunity for students to share important industry problems they are passionate about.

“It is a great way to get people thinking of solutions that need to be found,” Tisma said.

Ten teams were selected as finalists, requiring them to research, construct, and deliver five-minute presentations that convincingly advocated for the importance of their chosen issue.

Following the pitches, the candidates were critiqued and questioned on-the-spot by the judges; three established individuals amongst the local technology and business community.

The first-place and second-place teams are awarded $5,000 and $2,500 respectively, to put toward the next phases of research and development in their quest to create tangible solutions to these problems.

This year, each team delivered arguments regarding issues such as illicit “dark-web” activities, microfiber pollution in water, the lack of adequate security in mass technological systems, and more.

After a deliberation process, the judges admitted to having some rather heated debates while selecting the winners.

In the end, first-place was awarded to SannTek, who pitched their concern for the lack of THC detection tools that adequately measure marijuana intoxication levels.

The second-place prize was awarded to PolyGone, for their pitch regarding the health and environmental implications of water pollution attributed to microfibers in clothing.

The Velocity team distributed also ballots amongst the audience, that contributed to a People’s Choice Award.

The majority voted Sec-Int as the crowd-favourite, for their pitch on the lack of sufficient security within the Internet of Things (IoT).

Going forward, Velocity hopes to see these inspiring young innovators continue their research, and progress in developing innovative solutions to these pressing problems.

For more information on upcoming Velocity competitions or events, visit velocity.uwaterloo.ca.

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