by Scott McAuley

iMerciv has won the TELUS Pitch $100,000 grand prize.

The Buzzclip provides independence to those living with vision loss.

Inspired to make a difference by the failing sight of a family member, the company co-founders Arjun Mali and Bin Liu created the Buzzclip, a wearable device to improve the independence of those living with vision loss. The pair have been working hard on the product and the company since participating in the Impact Centre’s Techno entrepreneurship training program. After manufacturing and selling their first batch of products, the company is in the process of fundraising and will soon launch an updated version of the Buzzclip.

Three semi-finalists were chosen from 3,000 entries from businesses across Canada, The other two semi-finalists were JamStack, a guitar amp that attaches to smartphones; and Flashfood, which allows grocery stores to sell surplus food at discounted prices.

The judging panel was filled with high-profile entrepreneurs and industry leaders, including Arlene Dickinson, CEO of District Ventures; Bruce Poon Tip, founder of G Adventures; Sunil Sharma, managing director at Techstars Toronto; Erin Bury, managing director of Eighty-Eight, Mark Childs, chief brand officer at Samsung Canada; and Suzanne Trusdale, vice-president of Small Business at Telus.

The competition also recognized earlier-stage startups doing social good. The competition’s $10,000 impact prize went to MakerKids, as well as the option to donate $10,000 to a charity of their choice. MakerKids, which develops STEM program for kids, chose CAMH as their charity. The Most Promising Startup Award — which included a $5,000 of Samsung technology and $5,000 of mentoring and marketing services from Eighty-Eight — was given to HealthyPets.io, which connects pet owners to veterinarians through video chat.

Scott McAuley is the Communications Coordinator for the Impact Centre