Team FentaGone of Ajay Gill son of Advocate Gurpreet
Gill bagged 100K
Edmonton(ATB): Weeks of work all came down to a 10-minute presentation last
The stage was set to see some of the best and brightest from across Canada take
part in the Telus Innovation Challenge, and the final four teams did not
After making their proposals, and answering questions from the panel and
audience, FentaGone from the University of Alberta was awarded the grand prize.
They received a $100,000 prize package from Telus, including a seed fund to help
build their prototype and personalized mentorship to support the development of
their go-to-market plan. Alberta Innovates also provided support of up to
$100,000 for the top four teams to support commercialization, which included
mentorship, resources and infrastructure.
The team’s idea centered on the international opioid crisis, where they hoped to
“embed an innovative fentanyl-detecting technology within a typical syringe
design, allowing users to gain feedback on whether the drug-in-use contains a
lethal dosage of the drug.”
They admit they were in complete suspense waiting to hear who had won. “We
really appreciate it and all of the teams have been absolutely amazing,” Simran
The journey began with 70 teams from 19 post-secondary institutions across the
country applying for the first-ever national event.
The proposed innovation spanned several sectors including information
technology and communications, health care, energy and environment, and
transportation. The competitors went through a series of workshops and training
sessions aimed to get them ready for the big day.
“This prestigious event has generated a buzz of excitement,” Dr. Bill Rosehart,
dean of Schulich School of Engineering, remarked at the event. “Not just here at
the University of Calgary, but across the country.”
He was also impressed with the diversity amongst the teams, which included 12
undergraduate teams, six graduate teams and two teams led by students
“We wanted Canadian students with an interest in entrepreneurship, engineering
and technical innovation to come forward, and that’s exactly what has
happened,” Rosehart added.
While the teams were all excited about the opportunity to learn and grow their
own initiatives, those involved in planning the Telus Innovation Challenge were
equally impressed with what was brought to the table.
“It was a sincere honour to collaborate with the University of Calgary and Alberta
Innovates to provide a platform that supports getting Canadian ideation to
market,” said Ibrahim Gedeon, chief technology officer at Telus. “We appreciate
the leadership it took to make this event happen and hope it will create some
sustainable momentum in our country as these students realize their ideas.”
The competition also opened the door for some more collaboration in the future.
“We are proud to be able to support this initiative, and reward the finalists with
financial support as well as coaching and mentoring opportunities,” said Douglas
Holt, executive director of Alberta Innovates. “We’re also offering tickets to
Inventures, which is a conference we organize that allows entrepreneurs like
these to get together and form relationships with investors.”
For now, the victors will breathe a little easier and get the chance to reflect on the
“Participating in the Telus Innovation Challenge has further ignited an intense
drive to pursue entrepreneurship to solve key issues facing our society,” Dhillon
said. “Not only does this opportunity serve as a catalyst to kick-start our
innovation, but this process has provided insight and feedback into how to grow,
and better serve our community.”
Kudos Adarsh Badesha, Simran Dhillon and Ajay Gill of Team FentaGone
(Schulich School of Engineering co-hosts first-of-its-kind national competition)