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NEXT Canada presents 12 early-stage startups on Demo Day

NEXT Canada’s Demo Day, the eighth staging of the event, provided an opportunity for fledgling and aspiring business leaders, as well as investors, to learn about 12 early-stage startups, representing a wide range of industries across Canada, including healthcare and fashion. NEXT Canada is a national non-profit focused on fostering the next generation of entrepreneurial talent.

Each of the startups participated in two of NEXT Canada’s summer programs (Next 36 and Next Founders). Next 36 is geared towards young founders of early stage businesses; and Next Founders focuses on founder development for existing startups with significant traction.

Included among the startups was the company Nomz, which manufactures organic and healthy snacks produced from minimal, simple ingredients. The snacks are available online (such as via Amazon) and in retail stores like Whole Foods. Another startup among the twelve was Crescendo, a company that helps employees be more inclusive by providing personalized, unconscious bias training inside of Slack. Slack is a cloud-based set of proprietary team collaboration tools and services

Crescendo’s technology identifies biases in the way employees communicate with each other over time and delivers training directly into their workflow that is specific to their learning needs. In a statement, Sage Franch, co-founder of Crescendo, explained why NEXT Canada is a big deal: ““I knew I wanted to take the leap from the corporate world into entrepreneurship, but until Next 36, I didn’t know how to begin. NEXT Canada gave us access to education and advice from world-class professors and mentors, who helped guide us through the uncertainty of Crescendo’s early days and set us up with a strong foundation for the future.”

Crescendo was awarded the ‘Outstanding Venture (Next 36’ award at the event; and the ‘Outstanding Venture (Next Founders)’ award went to Nomz.

A third startup featured on the day was Healthy Pets, a company that seeks to improves pet health care by connecting pet parents with local veterinarians on demand through video and providing instant and affordable advice, care and triage regardless of time or location.

From the ecological area is the startup SucSeed. The company employs at-risk demographics to build hydroponic grow tanks that operate on less than 30 cents per day. The tanks are educating students about agriculture, providing seniors with an accessible way to garden, and providing needy families across Canada with fresh food.

For startups inspired by these success stories, applications for the 2019 cohort of Next 36 are now open online. Applications for a newer venture, NextAI (an accelerator and founder development program for early or idea stage AI-enabled startups), will open September 20, and applications for the 7th cohort of Next Founders program will open in early 2019.

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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