Every year, Enactus, a community of entrepreneurial leaders, runs the Enactus Canada National Exposition, a three-day competition to provide a platform for entrepreneurs to showcase the ways that their startups might influence the future.
This year the competition ran from May 7 until May 9 at the Vancouver Convention Center. The prize for winning first place totalled $10,000 and among the representatives was Kitchener-Waterloo’s Jason Deglint, selected from over 300 candidates for his algae analysis-based company, Blue Lion Labs.
Blue Lion Labs was created from a real-world problem that affects the water purification processes. Water purification is something a lot people take for granted and even in regions such as Waterloo, it can be a difficult and costly process. One issue in particular is the difficulty in identifying algae.
There are many different types of algae, some of which are not harmful. Other forms of algae produce toxins and worsen the quality of water. Up until now, the main problem for water treatment plants has not been eliminating the algae, but knowing what type of algae is present in the water. Standard processes have been very long and tedious.
Blue Lion Labs uses digital microscopy that makes it possible to do on site testing to determine which types of algae are in the water. The potential effect that this could have on a public service is what caught Enactus’ attention.
In an interview with Imprint, Deglint noted how excited he was to attend the competition. For Deglint, the opportunities presented by participation in this event go far beyond the grand prize. He said that the event is perfect practice for pitching skills as well as an opportunity to meet people who may be interested in investing with Blue Lion Labs. According to him, with so much time spent perfecting their methods of analysis, Deglint stated that he wants to see the project realized in the market. But marketing the product is, as he puts it, “a whole other ball game.”
Deglint placed second overall, falling only behind Ross Arsenault, a Halifax native who co-founded Ashored Innovations which focuses on sustainable fishing.
What started as an attempt by Deglint to make a difference with a real-world issue has now been recognized on a national stage and will likely gain the attention of more than just local water treatment plants.