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Tenth annual Opportunity Fest celebrates student-led social innovation

April 13, 2021
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By Jesika Kula

One of SFU’s largest entrepreneurship competitions is celebrating 10 years of inspiring student social innovation.

Opportunity Fest 2021, hosted by the Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship, and sponsored by Prospera Credit Union and the Beedie School of Business, brought together interdisciplinary student entrepreneurs from Grade 3 to university. Oppfest 2021 was hosted on zoom and featured more than 290 people, including 45 industry professionals and professors as judges, more than 51 student ventures, and 23 prize winners.

To qualify for Opportunity Fest, students had to either be taking part in one of the Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship’s Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship courses or be a part of one of the young innovators’ programs (such as Power Play, YELL and SFU’s Bright Ideas).

The winners of the High Impact Innovator Grand Prize were SFU team Cirendipity (Yoonji Choi, Darian Wickstead, Hannah Plowman & Ulduz Ghahramani), who took home three category titles, including third place in the category of Sustainable Innovation; Entrepreneur’s Choice in that same category and the High Impact Innovator Grand Prize, sponsored by Prospera Credit Union.

Cirendipity is a candle brand focused on reducing waste of consumer-packaged goods through an innovative wax disposal and refill methods. The product contains a silicone liner that holds the wax, which allows users to remove leftover product and purchase refills to reduce additional waste. Simply put, you are only using one jar for a lifetime.

You can check out all the teams and watch their pitches over on our networking site, Buzzit!

The rest of the category winners were as follows:

Prospera Credit Union’s High Impact Innovator Grand Prize: Cirendipity (Yoonji Choi, Darian Wickstead, Hannah Plowman & Ulduz Ghahramani)

Sustainable Innovation                                                            

1st Place: What the Hemp! (Liam Wenzel, Chinmayee Kusnur, Pouya Alijoula, Jinguo (Jessie) Fan & Jacob Erickson)

2nd Place: Charge Tech (Alex Luowan, Ken Wei, Laksh Agarwal, Nima Shahlaee & Tache Sato)

3rd Place: Cirendipity (Yoonji Choi, Darian Wickstead, Hannah Plowman & Ulduz Ghahramani)

Entrepreneurs' Choice: Cirendipity (Yoonji Choi, Darian Wickstead, Hannah Plowman & Ulduz Ghahramani)

Community Connections                                                        

1st Place: Glow Girls (Claire Connop, Marzia Sager, Karan Kaur Johar & Bianca Partovi)

2nd Place: CoFit (Megan Dhaliwal, Brent WaldBillig, Hsiao-Hsuan Han, Nancy - Sowon Kim & Braxton Reimer)

3rd Place: UniConnect+ (Daniel Li, Jose Castro, Michael Sui, Parsa Nazeri, Patrick Zhao)

Entrepreneurs' Choice: Glow Girls (Claire Connop, Marzia Sager, Karan Kaur Johar & Bianca Partovi) + Prozgo (Avril Yang, Aaron Cheng, Bill Zhu, Jimmy Nguyen & Malhur Hara)

Rethinking Fashion                                                                    

1st Place: Wrong Side Studio (Caleigh Smith)

2nd Place: Stylaware (Suvansha Kohli, Angela Shen, Hussain Attarwala, Tanatswa Mutoko, Millee Aujla & Salina Sian)               

3rd Place: Bract Leather (Burak Culhaoglu, Kathy Datsky, Daryn William MacDougall, Arsen Nurshaikhy & Ty Charles Westgard)

Entrepreneurs' Choice: Bract Leather (Burak Culhaoglu, Kathy Datsky, Daryn William MacDougall, Arsen Nurshaikhy & Ty Charles Westgard)

Holistic Health                                                           

1st Place: Elevate (Lucy Lei, Karen Lim, Mayank Aggarwal, Zainab Vajahath, Clayton Jang & XingLu Wang)

2nd Place: Iuvox Technologies (Ian Leighton, Michael Hong, Liam Wenzel, Suchita Chawla, Jayden Piatelli, Keaton Winnicky-Lewis, Michelle De la O)

3rd Place: Sibulus (Ryan Le, Jerry Weng, Takundanashe (TK) Chisvo, Julien Gibbons, Cheng Jie (Michael) Huang, Chris Vattathichirayil)

Entrepreneurs' Choice: Macrow (Harsh Behal, Riyadh Bahar, Josh Lim, Aaron Lopez-Dee, Elena Soboleva)   

Digital Solutions                                                       

1st Place: Zipport (Natalie Appel, Ciera Baldonero, Daniel Kim, Angela Sheenmar, Ben Boublil, Rinon Murashima)

2nd Place: ANTS Robotics (Devan Parmar, Michael Le, Dmitry Gusev, Ibrahim Helal, James Lui & Nam Mai)

3rd Place: WellPlayed (Kobe Sam, Hize Gadia, Nicholas Lindholm, Xi Ran (Jason) Xu & Sepehr Ahmadipourshirazi)

Entrepreneurs' Choice: ANTS Robotics (Devan Parmar, Michael Le, Dmitry Gusev, Ibrahim Helal, James Lui & Nam Mai)

PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs                                    

Winner Room 1: Riley's Zany Bird Pencils (Riley M.)

Entrepreneurs' Choice Room 1: Violet's Spiky Friends (Violet N.)              

Winner Room 2: Ben's Flip Stix (Ben L.)                                               

Entrepreneurs' Choice Room 2: Ben's Flip Stix  (Ben L.)                                                           

High School Entrepreneurs                                                    

Winner Room 1: Team Eco Theory (Trisha A., Jaideep D., Jaskarn G., Manpreet D., Sidakdeep L.)

Entrepreneurs' Choice: TIE - Team TransformEV (Arad J., Borna S., Joe D., Ryan T., Qaleem R.)

and Team SaniTeam (Riley G., Okiemute A., Jeco M., Carol W., Gurleen D.)      

To learn more about Opportunity Fest, check out the Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship’s website.