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Discovery brings together over 2,600 of the best and brightest minds in industry, academia, the investment community and government to showcase leading-edge technologies, best practices and research in Ontario.

The David McFadden Energy Entrepreneur Challenge

Tuesday, April 28, 9:00-10:30 a.m. - NEXT Theatre

Honouring past OCE Board Chair David McFadden, the David McFadden Energy Entrepreneur Challenge invites university and college students from across Ontario’s academic institutions to address challenges facing the energy sector. Each year a particular challenge is selected and students pitch their entrepreneurial ideas and solutions to be judged against David’s own philosophy of innovation: that it be economically viable while also leading to the betterment of society in creating a safer, better place. 

Students enter their idea in a three-minute video uploaded to YouTube. Up to 10 finalists will now meet face-to-face with expert advisers, who will help them improve their proposals and strengthen their concepts.  

At Discovery, each finalist receives five minutes to pitch their concept to a panel of energy sector experts and investors. This panel will choose one winner who will be presented with the David McFadden Energy Entrepreneur Award at Discovery and receive $25,000 and a suite of business services to advance the winning business concept.

See complete competition details on OCE's website.

2014/15 Challenge

The theme for this year’s Energy Entrepreneur Challenge is “Meeting the Energy Challenge of Remote Communities”. Hundreds of millions of people around the world live in remote communities where they have no access to electricity or, where the electricity is available, it is intermittent, unreliable and often at an unaffordable price. Since the availability of affordable electricity is a vital ingredient to enhancing the quality of life and economic prospects of the residents of remote communities, the challenge is to develop sustainable electricity generation technology and/or distribution systems which will meet the needs of remote communities rapidly and be easy to install and maintain. The approach proposed should be usable in remote communities in Canada as well as in remote communities in other parts of the world.

Judging Panel

Moderator - Barbara Wilkes, President, Management Initiatives Inc.‚Äč


  • Carole Champion, Director, Industrial Engagement, Ontario Centres of Excellence
  • David McFadden, International Management Committee, Partner, Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP
  • Dr. Dan Patterson, President, Niagara College
  • Caroline Somers, Co-CEO, Cassidy Bay Group

View Judges' Bios

2015 Winner

LEAD: Kyle Bassett
INSTITUTION: University of Windsor


RMRD TECH has designed small, 3D-printed wind turbines that will allow remote communities to produce energy easily, reliably and at a low cost. They can be manufactured, installed, and maintained with a fraction of the time and cost of traditional energy devices, and by designing for small amounts of energy rather than large-scale production, the need for ‘ideal’ site conditions is eliminated.

2015 Finalists

LEAD: Tejas Kamath
INSTITUTION: University of Waterloo
TEAM: Faeeza Jamil, Amad Khan


The underlying problem that this enterprise is aiming to solve is that many off-grid communities in Canada are using diesel generators as their primary source of electricity. The team's goal is to reduce the production of greenhouse gases and reduce the cost of using electricity with their product, which consists of a smart grid with clean energy sources and an electricity storage system.

ENTERPRISE: Mundar Power
LEAD: Joseph Tetteh
INSTITUTION: University of Waterloo
TEAM: Nadège Oubda, Roxanne Springer, Thomas Chona


This solution uses waste products (biogas) to give residents in remote communities access to a sustainable supply of electricity for their homes. The process involves the recovery of methane (CH4) gas from waste through a transformational process, which will then be used to generate electricity.

LEAD: Sameer Gulamani
INSTITUTION: York University
TEAM: Brian Camenzuli, Adam Camenzuli


The KARIBU Solar Power solar pay-as-you-go “business in a box” kit gives remote communities access to clean, affordable light and energy. The kit consists of two “hockey puck” rechargeable lights/phone chargers and one solar panel, as well as instructional information and marketing materials. The kit is sold to entrepreneurs who can earn continuous income by providing recharges to community members.

ENTERPRISE: HARvEST (Heat And Recovery/Energy Storage Technologies)
LEAD: Jeffrey Girard
INSTITUTION: McMaster University
TEAM: Rafat Hirmiz


Off-grid communities rely heavily on diesel, heating fuels and wood to provide electricity and warmth, but these sources have low efficiency rates. HARvEST's solution repurposes lost energy by capturing thermal energy from waste heat sources, such as wood stoves, and generating electrical energy that can then be used to provide electricity, heating and hot water.