SouthVenture Business Plan Competition Winners Showcase U of L Student Innovation to the Province
SouthVenture Business Plan Competition Winners Showcase U of L Student Innovation to the Province

March 24, 2011

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A video game development group, a web-based used book marketer and a biology researcher who hopes to make algae more useful were the recent winners of the SouthVenture Business Plan Competition.

The three teams shared $10,000 in prize money and now move into a province-wide competition where they will represent the innovative spirit of U of L students to whole province.

As well, they receive more training opportunities with other six regional finalists from Calgary and Edmonton – and compete for even more cash.

The grand prize of $6,000 went to Tyrel Schick, (centre) a New Media major and founder of Nougat Software, a game developing company made up of more than 30 U of L students from many different disciplines.

The runner-up prizes of $2,000 each went to Gezim Hoxha (left) a Management/Computer double major and founder of GizmoBooks.com, a unique used book exchange portal; and Trevor McMillan (right) a Ph.D. candidate in Biology and co-founder of ALGEN, a biotech start-up which improves strains of algae for biofuel production, agricultural food production and therapeutic drug manufacturing.

Brief descriptions of the three business can be found below.
A photograph is attached.

Nougat Software

Nougat Software is a video game development company organized by a group of students at the University of Lethbridge.

They design and create innovative, full scale games for a wide range of platforms. Our team ranges from the departments of New Media, Computer Science, Digital Audio Arts, and even Accounting, we are now over thirty members strong.

Every piece of content used in, or to promote, our games are created purely by one or more of our teammates. It is our goal to build a strong working relationship with the University of Lethbridge to promote our company, the University, and the City of Lethbridge.

ALGEN Biologics Inc.

Alberta based biotechnology start-up company ALGEN Biologics Inc. was founded by Trevor MacMillan, a PhD candidate at the University of Lethbridge.

ALGEN is focused on developing a new method to introduce DNA into algae. Algae are resistant to standard genetic manipulation methods and require either expensive equipment or advanced technical knowledge to insert DNA into algae.

The development of this novel technology overcomes these technical barriers representing a unique, cheap, easy to use and effective method to introduce DNA into algae. The ALGEN algae transformation technology can be used by universities and the algae industry to improve the performance of their algae. Algae cultivation represents a diverse and important global industry. Improved strains of algae can then be used for biofuel production, bioremediation of wastewater, agricultural food production and therapeutic drug manufacturing.

Algae are ideally suited for these purposes because they cost very little to cultivate, have a high growth rate and can be grown in a sustainable manner using marginal land and wastewater sources.

Gizmobooks.com

Founder and current U of L student Gezim Hoxha comes by his entrepreneurial roots through his family business in Kosovo, where he started at age 7 helping his father run a kiosk.

He came to Canada as a refugee at age 13 with his parents and sister. A grade eight website design course at Wilson Middle School hooked him on computers and he has been in that business ever since.

The GizmoBooks.com (http://www.GizmoBooks.com) marketplace allows students to sell their used textbooks enter their email address, the textbook ISBN, price, and condition in order to sell a book.

Students wanting to save money on books will then go to www.GizmoBooks.com and purchase the textbook.

Shippers pick up the book from the seller and deliver it to the buyer making this transaction extremely easy for both parties. Once the book has been delivered, the seller will receive an electronic payment.

In addition to GizmoBooks.com, Hoxha founded www.Kalif.ca, a local web site design company. Through Kalif.ca, he helps companies create an online presence that enhances their existing operations.

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