Since 1998 the Business Development Bank of Canada has been running its Young Entrepreneur Award contest every year to reward an ambitious Canadian entrepreneur aged 18 to 35. One finalist is chosen from each province and through a process of public voting and expert evaluation, a single winning entrepreneur is chosen and revealed on June 18.
In the 25 years since the contest first began, no New Brunswick entrepreneur has ever won this award. There have been other winners in Atlantic Canada – just none from this province.
Pat Whalen, CEO of Fredericton-based LuminUltra, could change that this year.
LuminUltra is an exciting technology-based firm located in Fredericton. They have 28 staff and serve markets across the world. In fact, the firm does 99 per cent of its business outside of Atlantic Canada.
LuminUltra has developed an innovative simple testing method to help keep drinking water safe. The process identifies microorganisms in liquid also has applications in industry, including the forest products industry as well as oil and gas.
LuminUltra’s product allows for testing in the field that delivers fast results to detect contamination. Whalen and his team are working on an application that marries IT and biotechnology where smart phones and tablets can be utilized to make feedback instantaneous.
This may be another company that could take advantage of the development of the shale gas industry in New Brunswick. Well drilling and stimulation activities can introduce microbes which can impede inflow and corrode infrastructure leading to possible leaks and increasing the costs of operating wells. LuminUltra already has clusters in the oil and gas exploration and production industry in Alberta and British Columbia.
In 2013, the firm won the Innovation Excellence in Biosciences Award as part of the New Brunswick INNOV8 awards program.
The award comes with a $100,000 Grand Prize that must be used by the company on a project that leads to future growth.
New Brunswickers can vote for Whalen by following this link. The contest allows people to vote daily for their favorite entrepreneur until June 12. One vote per person per day will be permitted.