More than 25 startups, small businesses and entrepreneurs travelled from far and wide to the Darlington Energy Complex recently to pitch their best ideas at the Ontario Power Generation (OPG) Ignite competition.

Contestants presented their innovative ideas to a panel of judges on Nov. 2 for a chance at receiving valuable seed money. Up to $75,000 in total funding is up for grabs in the Ignite pitch competition’s three OPG categories – Environment and Electrification Development, Inspection and Maintenance, and Refurbishment.

To spark inventive ideas for OPG’s operations and the wider energy industry, OPG once again teamed up with the Spark Centre, a non-profit that supports entrepreneurs in Durham Region and Northumberland County, to spearhead this year’s Ignite Pitch Competition, now in its sixth year. The annual contest seeks to inspire entrepreneurs, with the ultimate goal of creating jobs and economic growth for Durham Region.

“Innovation is a key pillar of OPG,” said Jason Van Wart, Vice-President of Canadian Nuclear Partners, a wholly-owned subsidiary of OPG. “We are proud to partner with Spark and the Ignite competition to spur innovation across Ontario.”

Like the popular TV show Dragons’ Den, contestants were each given three minutes to pitch their best and brightest idea, followed up by a two-minute question period led by a panel of judges comprised of five OPG employees and one angel investors.

After the pitches were all said and done, the judges decided on six finalists (two in each category). In the Environment & Electrification Development category: Evercloak and SWTCH. In the Refurbishment category: Taiga Robotics and LocaPuck. Finally, in the Inspection and Maintenance category: McMaster University and BreqLabs.

Next, the six finalists will make their boardroom pitch on Wednesday, Nov. 21, where each team will be given more time to present their idea.

After final deliberation, three winners will be announced – one in each category. Winners will be named at the Ignite Gala held on Tuesday, Dec. 4.

Last year, Ottawa-based FPrimceC Solutions Inc. was declared the winner of the OPG category. The judges were impressed by the company’s ultrasonic device, dubbed “Timeshift”, which can measure the strength of concrete structures and accurately predict their future condition. The company received $25,000 of seed funding to complete and commercialize their device.

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