Team:OLS Canmore Canada/Entrepreneurship


What We've Done

Our OLS Synbio team has created a project which is desirable by people, viable as a business, and feasible with technology. These are the three main pillars we built our project on.

We have participated in many entrepreneurial workshops and conferences, such as the Berkeley Program, to learn about design thinking. The methodology of design thinking has been applied to each step of our project, over numerous iterations. After months of research in many areas of study, we were able to narrow down our project to plastics. From there, we decided to focus on the recycling process of the plastic problem because of our outreach. We are grateful for our design thinking education; without it, we would not have had the tools to take this community feedback and help it re-direct our project to a more promising direction. With the knowledge from the Berkeley program, we knew that our idea had to be desirable by people, viable as a business, and feasible with technology, and we were able to pivot to our current direction.

We pitched our project to representatives from ATB Financial and received important feedback on what to incorporate when presenting a business plan, including advice on how to properly persuade the audience of the viability of our design. Determining the value propositions for our project was something we would not have considered without the input from ATB Financial professionals. We later met with and pitched to the Bow Valley Credit Union and other local business, and received numerous donations - a testament to our community support for our idea and for its viability.

We presented our project at two different Mindfuel events, including Mindfuel's Alberta Genetically Engineered Machine (a provincial competition for iGEM teams, complete with an amazing panel of judges who provided excellent feedback to refine our project and presentation!), and were honored to win one first place award and financial grants from these events.

Our team attended an entrepreneurship conference and workshop where we learned about how to turn a product into a business and how to give an effective value proposition.

We also interviewed people who started and own their own biotechnology businesses, including Lisa Oberding and David Lloyd from Fredsense (Calgary, Alberta) and Justin Pahara and Julie Legault from Amino Labs (Lethbridge, AB). Their stories and advice helped us understand how to take a passion for synthetic biology and turn it into a career.

In addition to all this, our team wrote a paper for the high school peer-reviewed BioTreks journal. While the article has not yet been published in their newest edition, you can find the link for it very soon on the Biotreks website. here.

Members of our team at the Berkeley Program in California.