Young innovators attend virtual bootcamp to help bring STEM projects to market

Engineer hand using tablet, heavy automation robot arm machine in smart factory industrial with tablet real time monitoring system application. Industry 4th iot concept.

Ten bright minds from Canada’s science fair community wrapped up an intensive four-day bootcamp, where they learned more about bringing their innovation to market.

Held virtually, from Aug. 11 to 14, the fourth annual Young Science Canada (YSC)-York University STEM Entrepreneurship Bootcamp allowed students to learn and apply current entrepreneurship best practices to turn their projects into viable businesses.

The Class of 2020 includes 10 ribbon recipients from YSC’s first online STEM Fair, held April and May of this year.

YSC-York University STEM Entrepreneurship Bootcamp’s Class of 2020 gathered virtually from Aug. 11 to 14 to explore ways they can turn their science projects into successful businesses

“Bergeron Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology at Lassonde School of Engineering is one of the most innovative programs in the country,” said Reni Barlow, executive director at Youth Science Canada. “Over the years, it has helped thousands of students of all ages and backgrounds bring new solutions to market to help Canadians lead better lives and bring about a better world. We’re extremely grateful for our partnership with York University and admire their commitment to young Canadian entrepreneurs.”

Held exclusively via web conference, the program allows participating students to meet virtually with fellow entrepreneurs, network with former BEST graduates and experience the process of transforming their science projects into a viable business, supported by BEST faculty and resources at York University from the Lassonde School of Engineering, Osgoode Hall Law School and the Schulich School of Business.

Projects included several inventive proposals – from improving recycling of plastics by designing a cheap near-infrared device to sort the seven types of plastics, using machine-learning to distinguish them (Edward Xiong), to using machine learning-based classification system to identify skin lesions (Teagan Robinson).

“Over the years, we have guided many entrepreneurs on how to pitch and secure funding for their ventures,” said Andrew Maxwell, director of the BEST program. “The bootcamp is a great way for us to work with students from Canada’s STEM fair community – to demonstrate how innovations in science and technology can be harnessed to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Opportunities like these help young innovators gain new skills and essential mentorship to grow as entrepreneurs and to learn how to develop their new ventures successfully.”

The STEM Bootcamp is supported by Rogers and the Ted Rogers Community Grants program. Normally, up to 10 students who compete at YSC’s flagship event, the Canada-Wide Science Fair, are presented with a Ted Rogers Innovation Award enabling them to attend this special program. This year’s participants were selected from the YSC Online STEM Fair, which was created following the cancellation of most regional science fairs and the 2020 Canada-Wide Science Fair due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The bootcamp is open to students in grades 9 to 12, incoming Lassonde students and finalists from YSC STEM events. The BEST program also offers the BEST Entrance Award of $1,000 to bootcamp participants who will be attending the Lassonde School of Engineering.

This year’s participants are all recipients of a Ted Rogers Innovation Award, they are Hubert Chan (Ontario), Samantha Glenday (Manitoba), Amanda Hardman (Alberta), Harini Karthik (Quebec), Andrew Pun (Ontario), Teagan Robinson (New Brunswick), Tienlan Sun (British Columbia), Haarini Suntharalingam (Ontario), Edward Xiong (Ontario) and Robin Yadav (British Columbia).

All ribbon recipients from the 2020 YSC Online STEM Fair, and the 10 projects participating in the STEM Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, can be viewed at