Two Innovation Cluster Startups Take Home Bears’ Lair Grand Prize for Innovation and Goods & Services Stream
Three finalists per stream were given a duration of 10 minutes to pitch their business. This time included a Q&A by heavy hitting judges Teresa Kruze, Broadcaster, TV Producer, Best-selling Author and Community Activist; Steve Reble, Owner of etee and Brenda M. Hogan, Senior Investment Manager.
For the Innovation Stream, Alexander Optical took the grand prize. Alexander Optical is increasing access to eye care in the community through organized pop-up clinics that bring professionals on-site to perform comprehensive eye exams and find eyewear solutions. Pop-up clinics are facilitated at locations, such as but not limited to schools, seniors residences and local businesses to benefit patients.
With partnerships including Fleming College, Trent University and local eye care professionals, judges were impressed with the accomplishments the company had completed so far and the potential of growth it can have in the future. Founder Dylan Trepanier went in front of the judges.
“I’m so proud to be a part of such a supportive community and have such incredible mentors that helped me get here,” says Trepanier. “I put my heart into the pitch and I’m feeling blessed that the audience and judges were receptive to the change we are trying to make in the community. I can’t wait to start working with more eye care professionals and employers in the area to bring services to them. I can hardly wait to see what the future holds.”
Trepanier says winning Bears’ Lair will help when promoting the company to eye care professionals.
“I know Bears’ Lair is exactly what we needed to take our business to the next level and get the support we are looking for with the community,” says Trepanier. “The prize money is going to be poured into marketing to develop a direct marketing campaign to speak to employers and eye care professionals in the area and encourage them to try working with Alexander Optical and see the difference we can make for them.”
For the Goods & Services Stream, Innovation Cluster startup Electric Juice Factory took the top prize. Cheryl Gould went in front of the judges pitching the company’s innovative smoothie puck product, successfully impressing the panel. The company recently launched the product in five flavour options in addition to its array of raw plant-based juices.
Gould expressed her gratitude toward the community that has been a continued support over social media after winning, saying, “It’s time to get to work.”