Quadra Island’s Wild Isle Ferments has been awarded $50,000 in the first annual NexStream Tech Challenge for winning the Wildcard category. Photo courtesy Wild Isle Ferments

Quadra fermenter wins $50K in NexStream Tech Challenge

Brandon Pirie with Wild Isle Ferments takes Wildcard category in first annual contest

Quadra Island’s Wild Isle Ferments has received a good chunk of change for its work developing fermented sauces using by-products from seafood processing.

The City of Campbell River’s Economic Development Department and the Campbell River Area Angel Group (CRAAG) announced the finalists and prize recipients of the inaugural NexStream Tech Competition today (Sept. 9), and Brandon Pirie of Wild Isle Ferments was named the winner of the $50,000 “Wildcard” prize.

Thirty-seven teams entered the competition, contending for prizes of up to $75,000 and receiving valuable mentorship and support to help them move their ideas and businesses forward to address challenges related to energy, wildlife monitoring and food security, according to organizers.

The finalists – Wild Isle Ferments, Mark Rabin with Portable Electric in Vancouver, who developed a portable energy pod that uses renewable energy sources, David Hauser and Janos Toth with RecognAIse Technologies in Vancouver, who applied technology such as artificial intelligence to develop an automated inspection process for infrastructure, Andrew Brule of La Press in Vancouver, who Brule developed a tool for making homemade soap bars and Monty Chong-Walden of Calmura Natural Walls of Vancouver, who developed a wall system that uses sustainable, natural materials.

In the end, Portable Electric took the $75,000 grand prize with Pirie taking the Wildcard prize.

Pirie’s competition entry says the sauces he’s developed for the contest are slated to be launched locally this November, “and will eventually be distributed alongside the local, sustainably harvested seafood products that Walcan regularly ships nationally and internationally.”

RELATED: 30 entries advance to next stage of NexStream

RELATED: NexStream competitors to be crowned in virtual finale

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, plans for the finale were changed from an in-person demonstration and awards ceremony to an online announcement on Sept. 9, 2020. The finalists and winners are featured on the NexStream Tech Competition’s website, nexstream.is

“CRAAG congratulates the first-ever NexStream contest winners, Brandon Pirie and Mark Rabin, who stood out for their innovation and business potential in a very competitive field,” says David Baar, angel investor and co-founder of CRAAG. “We were thrilled, as well as impressed, to see the progress of many of the contestants as they progressed from early idea development through to formal business planning and prototype development. Many of the contestants especially benefitted from excellent programs and training provided by Spring.”

Campbell River’s economic development officer, Rose Klukas, says the contest “has garnered international attention, and we are thrilled with the tremendous skills and enthusiasm exhibited by all of our entrants.”

The NexStream Tech Competition was – and will continue to be – open to innovators from around the world. Each year, the competition will feature a new set of challenges that are inspired by Campbell River and B.C.’s coastal regions, but address the needs of communities and industries worldwide.

Applications for the second NexStream Tech Competition will be accepted next month from Oct. 1 to 31. The second edition of the challenge will focus on the categories of Healthcare and Emergency Preparedness, Food Security, Sustainable Resource Management and another Wildcard winner. Individuals, academic institutions and businesses with fewer than 100 employees are encouraged to submit their expressions of interest.

Anyone interested in the competition is invited to visit nexstream.is for more information about the NexStream Tech Competition and to learn more about Campbell River’s technology initiatives at techatchery.ca

Other partners involved in the project include Foresight, Spring, Futurpreneur Canada, the Campbell River & District Chamber of Commerce and Innovate BC.


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