A technological innovation that could revolutionize autism care is one of six start-ups in a year-long accelerator program at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business.
The Coast Capital Savings Innovation Hub, run by Sauder’s Centre for Social Innovation & Impact Investing, provides socially-oriented enterprises with a dynamic communal workspace, a structured program of coaching, paid student interns, and mentorship from Sauder faculty, alumni and industry experts.
One venture, Awake Labs, has roots in a joint Sauder-UBC Applied Science undergraduate course. The company has developed a wearable device that measures anxiety and predicts potential meltdowns in children with autism. It also allows caregivers to intervene before a harmful escalation occurs. Another group has invented a “walking” bike that allows people with mobility challenges to get back on their feet.
“Increasingly people are turning to the tools and methods of business to solve social and environmental challenges, particularly in Vancouver’s entrepreneurial community,” said Associate Professor James Tansey, Executive Director of Sauder’s Centre for Social Innovation & Impact Investing. “We’re looking forward to seeing this year’s Innovation Hub ventures evolve and contribute to establishing Vancouver as a world leader for social entrepreneurship.”
This is the fourth cohort of early stage social ventures to enter the Coast Capital Savings Innovation Hub, which is funded by a $1-million contribution from Coast Capital Savings.
“Coast Capital Savings is committed to innovation, entrepreneurship, and building a richer future for youth in our communities,” said Don Coulter, president and CEO, Coast Capital Savings. “Sauder’s Coast Capital Savings Innovation Hub provides an invaluable education for budding entrepreneurs whose ventures promise to make valuable contributions to our community. It will be a pleasure to watch them learn, grow and succeed during their time at the Hub.”