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John McCallum, minister of immigration and refugees talks to a participant of the case competition. (Christian Thomson/Ryersonian Staff)


Ryerson students won second place in a cross-university competition where they presented ideas on how to help incoming refugees settle in Toronto to a panel, which included John McCallum, minister of immigration and refugees.

Case Competition: Syrian Refugee Crisis was hosted on Sunday at Ted Rogers School of Management by the Ryerson Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) to bridge the gap between business acumen and social innovation, said Husain Malla, vice-president of marketing for MSA.

Purgatory Pilgrims, a group of students from Ryerson, won the second-place prize of $600 for their app that provides help with language skills, job hunting and access to emergency lines.

Team Syrious won the first-place prize of $1,000. They proposed a Tinder-inspired app that would allow refugees to connect with people in their new community.

“All around the world we’re so inclined to technology and how to use it,” said Fatina Zahra, a member of Team Syrious and student at University of Toronto, Mississauga. “We wanted to make it as easy as possible for refugees to find the help they need and feel more welcomed when they arrive here.”

Eighteen teams arrived at 10 a.m. and were given outlines of proposal requirements and how much money they would have to work with.

With roughly two hours to prep, they made their presentation in private to the panel of judges. From there, the top four were picked to present later in the evening in front of all the participants.

After the top teams presented, McCallum spoke about the challenges faced by refugees once they arrive to Canada.

“We’re very capable of getting refugees over here, that’s not the problem,” said McCallum. “The problem is making sure they have a proper, warm welcome.”

Originally, the top three teams were intended to receive $500, $300 and $200 respectively. However, due to the generosity of judge Wendy Cukier, vice-president of research and innovation at Ryerson, the prize money was doubled to $1,000, $600, and $200 for both the third and fourth placed teams.

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