Five innovative startups win big at LiON’S LAIR competition

The Hamilton business community gathered together at Carmen’s Banquet Centre to once again celebrate the next generation of innovation and entrepreneurship, as Innovation Factory and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce presented the seventh annual Lion’s Lair Awards Gala.

Adnan Somani (L) and Sarosha Imtiaz of Aiva Labs. Their company won more than $79,000 in prizes at the seventh annual LiON’S LAIR Awards Gala.

This night has become the foremost event for those in the business community, as was evident by another sold out crowd of more than 550 attendees. The evening highlighted ten innovative businesses all coveting a piece of the impressive prize pool of more than $180,000 in cash and in-kind resources. This year’s finalists included Aiva Labs, BridesMade, Dash MD, Dolled Up Desserts, Gene Blueprint,, HiNT, Lumago, Nanophyll, and Oneiric Hockey.

This year’s valued guests had the opportunity to review clips of the ten pitches recorded for television, and to select the winner of the People’s Choice Award through live votes at the gala – congratulations to the winner, BridesMade.

The night concluded with the announcement of the 2017 Lion’s Lair Winners live on-stage.

The Hamilton Award was awarded to the business making a big impact in Hamilton with their gluten free and vegan treats and baking mixes, Dolled Up Desserts.

Lumago took home the third prize of $43,250 for their innovative aquaponics systems for local greenhouses.

In second place, the creative team of Emily Rudow and Kayla Nezon at Oneiric Hockey with their patented protective base layer apparel for hockey impressed the crowd and the Lions. They were awarded a prize pack worth $59,000.

Grand prize winners Sarosha Imtiaz and Adnan Somani from Aiva Labs were truly surprised by the award of the largest ever prize in Lion’s Lair history – a jaw-dropping $79,020 in support. Their easy-to-use marketing campaign builder makes it easy for small businesses to compete with a limited budget, while making a big impact.

Lion’s Lair is a celebration of entrepreneurship in Hamilton, and would not be possible without the support of our amazing, supportive partners: KPMG, The City of Hamilton and Hamilton Economic Development, The Small Business Enterprise Centre, Gowling WLG, CoMotion, Communica, Meridian Credit Union, Orbital, Epiphany Coaches, Albanese Branding, Carmen’s Banquet Centre, Jan Kelley, Venture Accelerator Partners, Cable 14, Cogeco, AM900 CHML and Corus Entertainment, The Hamilton Spectator, McMaster University, Mohawk College, Adventus Research & Consulting, McMaster Innovation Park, RBC Royal Bank, Weever Apps, Greening Media, and Soundbox Productions.

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