Two companies in Conestoga’s Venture Lab have been named recipients of the Equitable Life of Canada Community Venture Award. The winning companies, LTCjobs.ca and PLNT.ai, were announced during the Conestoga Entrepreneurship Collective Festival, held October 26 to 27.
Vishnu Sagar Yerraboina has received a Community Venture Award from Equitable Life of Canada.
The awards are valued at $1,500 each and were launched by Equitable Life of Canada in 2021 to recognize entrepreneurs for their passion, perseverance and dedication as they strive to successfully launch businesses that seek to strengthen the community and improve quality of life for those living in Waterloo Region. Applications are only accepted from companies participating in Conestoga’s Venture Lab.
“We are grateful to Equitable Life for its ongoing support of our Venture Lab participants,” said Rose Mastnak, director, Conestoga Entrepreneurship Collective (CEC). “These awards will help our entrepreneurs grow and expand their businesses so they can make positive and lasting social changes in our community.”
The Venture Lab, the college’s own business incubator, is part of the CEC and designed to support the development of early-stage start-ups. The program includes four months of one-on-one coaching with a venture coach, a customized development road map for each company, workshops and targeted sessions with subject matter experts and access to industry mentors as well as college and community new venture development resources.
Vishnu Sagar Yerraboina, a 2020 graduate of Conestoga’s Healthcare Administration and Service Management graduate certificate program, launched LTCjobs.ca – an easy-to-use web application that enables long-term care (LTC) homes to post emergency or unplanned shifts for their facilities. Registered and verified health care workers then use the platform to see what shifts need to be filled and select those that work with their own schedules, ensuring facilities have staff to deliver essential care without the cost of using recruiters.
Aryian Haq, founder of the sustainability-focused venture PLNT.ai, has also been recognized with a Community Venture Award.
Yerraboina, who recently placed third at the college’s Pitch Day competition with a $1,000 prize, said the proceeds from the Equitable Life Venture Award will be used to fund web developer support and Cloud services.
Ariyan Haq, who launched the sustainability-focused venture PLNT.ai, has also been recognized with a Venture Award. Haq previously won the Commercialisation Prize in the NASA Space Apps Challenge, sponsored by the CEC and local tech company, Skywatch.
PLNT.ai provides software that aggregates ground and satellite data and uses a customized artificial intelligence engine to show the most ideal places to plant new vegetation. The software is critical as it can be used by urban forestry departments to determine new tree-planting projects, making their own internal workflows faster and more accurate, and ensuring future decisions regarding vegetation are done with environmental considerations.
Haq will use his award from Equitable Life to purchase computer technology to support the artificial intelligence engine and software.
The Conestoga Entrepreneurship Collective empowers and inspires students and alumni to successfully participate in the Waterloo Region entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem by providing multiple pathways for engagement that include developing a new business, becoming a corporate innovator and providing support systems to the ecosystem. In addition to the Venture Lab, the collective also offers programming through the Sales Lab and the Gig Lab.
Applications for the Venture Lab's next cohort close November 25. For more information, contact the CEC.