StackFarm, a student team, won the Ryerson Global Innovation Challenge (RGIC).
The competition, which is in its second year, encourages students to explore global markets and launch new ideas outside of North America.
The winning idea, StackFarm, is designed to grow lush vegetation in harsh climates, like Dubai’s, where the competition was held.
The group was composed of Ryerson students in biomedical science, business and engineering.
Sofia Ahmed, a mechanical engineering student, describes RGIC as a “startup boot camp.”
“We learned to talk to investors and were motivated by mentors,” she says. “There was a lot of push for us.”
She drew the computer-aided design model of their product, while team members Chris Bright and Revant Kumar brought it to life.
The design utilizes a soilless approach to growing leafy vegetables, like spinach and lettuce, which is needed in an arid area like Dubai, and even northern Canada, according to Bright.
“It’s a modular design that you can build on, depending on how much outcome you need. For personal use you may only need one unit, but a business could use four or more,” says Kumar.
Ahmed says she believes her team’s positivity contributed to their win.
“We all had so much energy; everyone was really passionate and it added to our drive,” she says.
The $5,000 they won will be allocated into perfecting their product, which Kumar hopes will be done by this time next year.