RADIUS’ Slingshot Accelerator chooses five innovative ventures promoting health
By Ian Bryce
For many Canadians, health is top-of-mind—especially for those facing chronic illness, disease or less severe concerns like dietary restrictions. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, major chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes cause 65 percent of all deaths in Canada each year.
To tackle this issue and promote healthy living, RADIUS, a social innovation lab and venture incubator based at SFU’s Beedie School of Business, has selected five health-based start-ups to form its 2017 Slingshot Accelerator cohort.
After successfully completing the six-month Slingshot program, and meeting its investment-readiness criteria, the new ventures—Dunya Media, The Good Stuff, Nomad Nutrition, Opthalight, and Richer Health— will each receive a $25,000 investment from the program.
The ventures—which range in scope from nutritious convenient meals to community-based healthcare education and communication, to a new diagnostic technology—were selected because they focus on helping people live healthier lives.
“We specifically sought early-stage ventures that have an emphasis on creating or incentivizing healthy choices, and preventing chronic disease,” says Donovan Woollard, co-director of RADIUS SFU.
“This cohort begins RADIUS’ two-year focus on health promotion that will build and test our methodology to understand, diagnose and act upon key societal challenges.”
The new Slingshot Accelerator Investment Pool makes RADIUS the only social accelerator in Canada to offer direct, redeemable equity investments to every venture that graduates from its program.
The investment pool will act as a new source of pre-seed capital for entrepreneurs, helping to kick-start their fundraising efforts while complementing the program’s capacity-building and network-development offerings.
The intense six-month cohort program develops ventures’ investment and market readiness, providing business and innovation acumen along with access to a strong network of mentors and peers. It also helps ventures develop financial, legal and marketing and communication strategies. The cohort also benefits from an expanded pool of services providers, technology interns, and other experts.