New Venture Design Students Win Big at National Competitions

Published on Monday, March 24, 2014

L-R: Stuart, Mok, Yan and Hamilton (missing:Obrien), placed 3rd at BMC Canada

Cam Stuart, Megan Obrien, Bayden Hamilton Chenessa Mok and Inee Yan, undergrad students in New Venture Design, a course jointly offered by UBC’s Faculty of Applied Science and Sauder School of Business, have taken home $15,000 in prizes at recent entrepreneurship competitions for innovative products they designed in class.

Engineering students Stuart, Obrien and Hamilton and commerce students Mok and Yan make up Santé West. The team takes home $10,000 for a third place finish at the Canada Business Model Competition (BMC Canada) hosted by Dalhousie University in Halifax Nova Scotia on March 15. They also snagged $5,000 worth of prizes by placing first at Enterprise Canada, a Canada wide business model competition hosted by UBC on February 14.

The team’s winning product is a progressive partial weight bearing leg brace to be used to speed up the recovery from lower leg injuries. It was developed in the two-term Applied Science /BCom class which pairs engineering and commerce students together to invent products, file patents, develop working prototypes and seek out funding for new start-ups.

The inspiration for Santé West came from the team’s shared love of outdoor sports. Stuart, Obrien and Hamilton are all avid skiers who have sustained serious lower leg injuries in the past while playing sports. Their partial weight bearing leg brace is designed to speed up recovery of lower leg injuries. The device attaches to the thigh and the user can incrementally increase and adjust the amount of weight being carried by their injured body part throughout the course of their recovery. Santé West, which formed in October, has had successful feedback from many of the stakeholders involved, proving that there is a market for their device. Recently, the team has gained the support of an orthopedic surgeon and a doctor of sports medicine with whom they are working to license the technology to a larger manufacturer.

“The competition at BMC Canada was fierce,” says Santé West team member Bayden Hamilton. “First and second prize went to tech ventures who were already generating revenue. It is clear that what we learn from the New Venture Design program is an essential asset towards success. The lean start-up approach is being adopted all over the world and we are fortunate to have programs like NVD, which helps young entrepreneurs like us develop a meaningful business model and accelerate our ventures.”

Since its launch in 2003, UBC’s New Venture Design has spawned numerous teams that have gone on to win business innovation competitions at home and around the world, including a successful pitch on CBC Television’sDragon’s Den.

Alumni from the class in recent year have founded a series of successful businesses start-ups including an innovative new water desalination system, wireless medical sensors that can provide real-time information to doctors, a surgical tape that can be applied to patients to improve accuracy in incisions and an online booking system for dental clinics.

Link to UBC media release.

Link to Santé West website.


ErinRose Handy
UBC Faculty of Applied Science