Cleantech Start Up Aurea Wins Planting Seed$ Competition
Aurea, a new cleantech company founded by Cat Adalay, won the second annual 100 Entrepreneurs: Planting Seed$ competition in Halifax on Monday, capturing the first prize of $10,000.
The company is dedicated to producing modular, low-maintenance wind turbines that can be integrated into buildings. Aurea aims to implement clean energy solutions in an urban environment, while helping high-rise developments and their tenants avoid carbon taxes and reduce energy costs.
“This is Aurea,” said Adalay in wrapping up her eight-minute presentation. “Its mission is to not just change the world but to save it."
Founded by Stefanie MacDonald and Allyson England, Planting Seed$ allows established entrepreneurs and businesses to support entrepreneurs aged 24 and under. There were 100 tickets for the event, and each cost $100. All the prize money went to the winner, who will use the funding to help get her project off the ground.
The event is designed to introduce youth to the concept of pitching ideas and developing networks earlier, MacDonald said.
As well as researching the market and opportunity, Adalay has so far designed two wind turbines. Her Flare Turbines are small-scale, modular turbines containing direct-drive imbedded generators. The two systems -- one vertical-axis and the other horizontal-axis -- can be integrated into structures such as high-rise buildings, towers and residential homes.
Adalay, who works with the Launch Dal initiative at Dalhousie University, has spoken with a few high-rise developers. They responded positively to the idea because there is so much consumer and regulatory pressure to implement green solutions in new projects. She said she will use the prize money as the first step in leveraging financing from government programs. She hopes to take Aurea into an accelerator soon.
The two other finalists in the event were:
- Halifax-based Sloth Coffee, which sources high-quality green coffee beans and sells its coffee through retail outlets, online and in offices. Founder Tyler Sellars said he started the company with the memory of happy times spent with his mother, who supported him in his semi-pro soccer career by taking coffee to his early-morning practices.
- And Halifax-based Under the Bridge Digital Media, a group that hires millennials to create quality digital content. Co-Founder and CEO Alfred Burgesson said the network of 12 young people has already done work for clients such as the City of Halifax and Volta Labs startup house.
The audience gathered at Halifax Central Library also heard from Site 2020, a venture that made the top three in last year’s contest. Site 2020 aims to reduce accidents on construction sites by using technology to control traffic flow.
Founders Cole Campbell and Mitchell Hollohan said they had received a lot of support from the community in the last 12 months, and they have learned that young entrepreneurs must be prepared to hustle.
“Don’t take a day off,” they advised the other young entrepreneurs in the audience.
England stressed the importance of entrepreneurship to the growth of Nova Scotia.
She said that research cited in Ray Ivany’s Now or Never Report revealed that many Nova Scotia youth want to work in traditional professions or be public servants. Only 12 per cent want to be entrepreneurs. Planting Seed$ aims to help boost that percentage.