Make it into a company
From the very beginning, our team was dedicated to exploring entrepreneurship opportunities.
In order to make a dream a reality, we devotedly followed a multi-pronged approach:
- Understand what the industry needs
- Understand how to implement the project in the industry
- Protect our intellectual property
- Bring our proposed solutions to potential investors
With these four pillars holding up our project, we were able to position yOIL to eventually go from lab bench to board room.
Why we spent so much time hunting down interviews
We conducted dozens of stakeholder interviews, covering as much breadth as possible. Leaving no stone left unturned, we got the insider's perspective on the problems afflicting the canola industry.
Confirmation of the green seed problem, difficulties in predicting frost, inconsistent seed grading, and the need to create value out of any waste were brought up as major pain points.
Why we spent so much time hunting down industry
We pursued solutions to these problems and kept looking for stakeholders to explain to us exactly where our product would be used. In the chlorophyll extraction and repurposing solution, stakeholder interviews and visits to experts at Richardson oilseed let us understand exactly how our project could be implemented in industry. Our project can be used in new factories as a supplement to the clays as they increase the amount of oil lost in the process as time increases, but chlorophyll has strong diminishing returns. Clays can do the brunt of the work, then our process can finish it off with precision. Mean Green Machine, could be used as the new standard for grading, and be used in UFAs, Crushers, and Grain elevators. Sunny Days can be used by farmers with their own equipment, and repurposing can be used as an small-scale extra step to use with the chlorophyll captured.
Protecting Intellectual Property
Impossible to Business without it
Because we believe in yOIL, Throughout project development we kept up with North American Patent Laws. With every meeting with professors and experts, we kept details sparse to protect our intellectual property as best as we could. With general stakeholders, no specifics were ever discussed apart from general concept. This was a constant consideration for the team, looking out for the future viability of the project as a business.
Furthermore, we have maintained non-disclosure throughout the whole summer, leading up to our first public disclosure. In our initial public event, a faculty talk, we made attendees sigh an NDA. At JulyGEM and the Pacific Northwest Meetup and pitch competitions, we revealed only minimal actionable claims. aGEM was a closed event.
That means this wiki is the first public declaration of our project. The Giant Jamboree will be our second public declaration.
As per North American IP law, we have 1 year post-declaration to file our patent. We are currently in talks with Innovate Calgary, a start-up incubator in our city, to get the resources we need to make this a reality. We hope that continued work on our project will lead to successful start-up.
Bring our project to the marketplace
Working on projects without getting informed by the userbase is bad, but not letting them know your project exists is worse. Which is why iGEM Calgary sent three individuals to local pitch competitions, namely the Calgary Falling Walls Lab, where promising start-ups congregate. All three projects were selected to become finalists at the competition and it opened a channel with the vice-president of UFA, A major force in bringing forth innovation in Canadian agriculture.