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L-R: Bruno Silvestre (Asper School of Business), Laura Los, Ian Kruk, Stu Clark and Debra Jonasson-Young (Director, Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship). Photo by Tony Nardella (Nardella Photography).

2024 installment of Stu Clark New Venture Championships introduces social entrepreneurship award

Undergraduate and graduate entrepreneurs compete to ignite impact, move business plans forward

May 6, 2024 — 

This April, 32 teams of aspiring entrepreneurs from post-secondary institutions across North America convened in Winnipeg for the 2024 Stu Clark New Venture Championships.

Housed at the Asper School of Business, the Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship (SCCE) hosts this annual event to ignite the entrepreneurial mindset and fuel innovative students, with $60,000 in prize money available to the top teams.

Teams tested their ventures in presentations and video pitches, ranging from technology that converts biomass into sustainable aviation fuels, to a software solution to improve records management for veterinarians. Learn more about teams in this video.

Executive Director of the SCCE, Debra Jonasson-Young comments on another stellar year of pitches, plans and passion. “Each year, this competition energizes the entrepreneurial ecosystem here in Manitoba and elevates our presence in an international community of entrepreneurs. Fanning the flame of entrepreneurship is more important than ever, and we have strengthened our purpose with the introduction of the Social Entrepreneurship awards, recognizing ventures that can deliver positive societal impact.”

UM Faculty of Science students Ian Kruk and Laura Los received the inaugural Social Entrepreneurship Award (Undergraduate) and secured third place in the undergraduate video pitch competition as Sweet Diagnostics. Kruk and Los pitched the SYPHIstat, a portable solution that uses glucose meters to diagnose syphilis infections quickly and reliably.

“It has been such a validating experience to receive this award. We feel it is our responsibility, now, to do whatever we can to move this project beyond an idea on paper and into the hands of patients and communities that need it most. Competitions like the SCNVC are essential to the development and advancement of innovations, and we are walking away from the competition miles ahead from where we were when we first applied,” they say.


Stu Clark speaking at the 2024 New Venture Championships. Photo by Tony Nardella (Nardella Photography).


Both the New Venture Championships and the SCCE are possible thanks to the generous support of UM alum and esteemed donor Stu Clark [BComm(Hons)/76, LLD/11]. Clark served the competition once again as a judge, alongside business community members, UM alumni and members of The Associates of the Asper School of Business.



Competing alongside students from Yale, Johns Hopkins and UBC, Asper undergraduate students Anthony Theriault, Hazel Nguyen and Todd de Groot pitched an idea that started in their Introduction to Entrepreneurship class. eleven59 is a calendar app for students, where users can upload syllabi to generate an optimized study schedule with all their deadlines in one place.

Still buzzing from the competition, the team reflects on the experience, excited to take action (and the judges’ feedback) to move forward. They agree that this competition gives every competitor a chance to launch their business, leveraging the connections, feedback, advertising and potential prize money to do so.

Asper students Todd de Groot, Anthony Theriault and Hazel Nguyen with Asper assistant professor Xiumei Li and startup coach Ben Isakov. Photo by Tony Nardella (Nardella Photography)

They share advice from SCCE Startup Coach Ben Isakov: don’t just think about it; do it.

“If you have an idea, go for it,” says de Groot. “Because the resources are there.”

“There are students in every faculty that have ideas and drive,” says Theriault. “Go to the Stu Clark Centre, where they can help you ignite ideas in any field.”

“Students have ideas and dreams that can help society,” adds Nguyen. “And they don’t need to wait until they are in their career to pursue them.”


The Stu Clark New Venture Championships brings together students and gives them a chance to launch their business because entrepreneurs don’t look for reasons why something won’t work; they look for ways to make things happen.

Competition Results

Visit the Asper School of Business flickr page for competition photos.

Undergraduate Level Video Pitch Winners

1st – One In a Chamber – University of British Columbia

2nd – Patient Companion – University of Waterloo

3rd – Sweet Diagnostics – University of Manitoba

Undergraduate Level Social Entrepreneurship Award

WINNER: Sweet Diagnostics – University of Manitoba

Undergraduate Business Plan Winners

1st – One In a Chamber – University of British Columbia

2nd – Locaze – Johns Hopkins University

3rd – Patient Companion – University of Waterloo

4th – Automax AI – University of Waterloo

Graduate Business Plan Winners

1st – SinuStim – Johns Hopkins University

2nd – HydroPhos Solutions – University of New Hampshire

3rd – AirMax – University of Texas at Austin

4th – ReliaCare – San Diego State University

Graduate Level Social Entrepreneurship Award

WINNER: MetaCyler BioInnovations – University of Waterloo

Graduate Level Video Pitch Winners

1st – Pet HealthCare Innovations – Florida Atlantic University

2nd – SinuStim – Johns Hopkins University

3rd – Nosh Protein – Western University


Check out all video pitches in this compilation video.

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