Innovation Saskatchewan is responsible for implementing the province’s innovation priorities and helping grow Saskatchewan’s tech sector. Effective April 2022, this includes operation of the Innovation Place technology parks in Saskatoon and Regina.

Seven Stories of Resilience to Celebrate Canadian Innovation Week

It’s Canadian Innovation Week! This year’s theme aptly recognizes resilience through innovation and we can think of no better way to acknowledge it than with some of the incredible pivots our tenants made during the pandemic.

01 ZYUS develops a new science

Developing a COVID-19 vaccine is crucial to overcoming the pandemic. Many traditional researchers and labs refocused efforts on its development and in true innovative fashion, ZYUS took up the call, pivoting to develop a plant-based COVID-19 vaccine. “Having multiple avenues of research and increasing vaccine development capacity in Canada is a priority for our team,” said ZYUS President and CEO Brent Zettl.

02 SalonScale centres community and connection

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, a lot of companies locked down on their bottom lines. But SalonScale took a different, almost revolutionary approach: they reached out to their customers and asked how they could help them, creating spaces for support and stopping payment collection for months. “We had a responsibility to our users and to our community to provide them with the tools to support them in coming back stronger and more successful than ever,” said SalonScale Co-Founder and COO Kim Badiuk.

03 Co.Labs reinvents co-learning… again

As I’m sure Co.Labs Youth Program Lead and Co.Learn creator Aditi Chadha would agree, launching a brand new learning series right before a pandemic is not ideal. But, that didn’t stop her and the Co.Labs crew from completely reimagining the newly launched Co.Learn program for the new virtual world. "We came to realize that young people needed a program like Co.Learn now more than ever," said Chadha. (Co.Labs even relaunched the UP conference as completely virtual too!)

04 TinEYE rebuilds its business strategy

When every school in North American shut down for an undetermined period of time, the team at TinyEYE took 10 minutes to mourn the loss of their business plans and then moved on to rebuilding software and key metrics to give kids, parents and educators the information they needed. “We've presented a plan that works in a VUCA [Volatility, Uncertainty, Chaos/Complexity and Ambiguity] world. We can adjust and know all of the different elements to manage, so that the schools have zero stress,” said TinyEYE CEO and Co-Founder Greg Sutton.

05 Lumeca invents new technology

Accessibility to health care has always been Lumeca’s mandate and with the pandemic they put their words into action not only providing their virtual health consultation tool for free, but by also launching a Health Pod bridging the gap in health services available to rural residents in Saskatchewan.”We’ve got a product that can keep people safe and secure, and offer them an essential service which is healthcare, and [enable] them to reach doctors for care," said Lumeca CEO and Founder Shawn Hazen.

06 RRPL joins the coronavirus frontlines

In a fast-moving outbreak, timely information is critical. So when the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory (RRPL) gained the ability to do confirmatory testing, the entire laboratory moved into action, dropping what they were doing to come to help. “Being able to test and confirm COVID-19 results within the province helped give more time to our public health partners as they tracked down and controlled sources of transmission in the province,” said Dr. Jessica Minion, medical microbiologist at RRPL.

07 BetterCart helps you find what you need

The simple task of going to the grocery became a huge challenge at the onset of the pandemic — navigating public spaces was tricky and items seemed to never be in stock. BetterCart channelled this frustration into releasing What’s In Stock an app that could tell you literally what was in stock before venturing out to the grocery store. “The common theme throughout this was Canadians were having challenges at the grocery store. We thought we could do something to help,” said BetterCart CEO and Founder Melanie Morrison.

There are more stories of innovation and resilience in our community to share. Do you have a story? Contact us!

Subscribe to the Scene newsletter for the latest information on Innovation Place and our tenants.

- November 16, 2020