Research Innovation Festival


May 10th to 19th 

Every day from May 10th until the 19th, the Research Innovation Festival will showcase success stories about innovation that improves life!  We will share videos of Innovation of the Year award winners; success stories about academic entrepreneurs; breaking news about research breakthroughs; and announcements of new contests and programs -- our online posting schedule is jam packed!  Follow our social media accounts to attend the event on social media and bookmark this page where showcase videos will be presented, where voting will take place and winners announced.

Vote for the People’s Choice Award!

For the first time, the U of G’s popular Gryphon’s LAAIR Pitch Competition videos will be released in advance of the competition as part of the Research Innovation Festival.  From Monday May 10th until the 14th, a different business founder’s value proposition pitch and Q&A with the 2021 judges will be released at 1 pm.

Viewers will be able to visit this page to vote for their favourite pitch from 5 pm EDT on Friday May 14th until Wednesday May 19th at noon EDT


Breaking news! Astra Redex Pitch Video is released:


People’s Choice Award – Gryphon’s LAAIR Pitch Prize $2500

BioFerm Functional Foods Inc. logo Obi Veterinary Education logo Presenter Richard Heck Astra Redex Logo
Astra Redex Inc. BioFerm Functional Foods Inc. DigiTrack Systems Inc. Guelph Petrographic Imaging. Obi Veterinary Education Inc.
May 10 May 11 May 12 May 13 May 14

Sign up for the event to see if your team wins!

In addition to the People’s Choice Award, pitch teams will compete for a $10,000 – Grand Prize.

This year, we are proud to have a group of internationally recognized professionals to act as judges for the 2021 Gryhon's LAAIR competition.

Since the competition will take place online, don't hesitate to register and send invitations to your contacts all around the world!

Presenter Richard Heck


May 19

This year, the 2021 Gryhon's LAAIR Showcase will be hosted by Canadian prairie based food expert Dan Clapson and will take place on the platform Hopin.

Hopin link: Coming soon!

Presenter Richard Heck

What is Gryphon's LAAIR?

Gryphon’s LAAIR (Leading to the Accelerated Adoption of Innovative Research) is a program funded by OMAFRA and the U of G designed to support the commercialization of research findings. Each year funds are provided for research teams to explore whether their invention or knowledge can be transformed into an innovation that will help the Ontario agri-food economy. During this year’s Research Innovation festival, we’ll be sharing news about the technologies that received funding last year and introducing you to some of the companies that have been created on campus using these types of support systems.  You’ll meet innovators who have used their world class research to develop new products which should attract private sector funding, create jobs and make Ontario more competitive.

Want to learn more about the Gyphon’s LAAIR?  What this video featuring David Hobson, Senior Manager, Entrepreneurship.

GL Funded Research has impact!

Showcase Videos

International judges

Harry is a serial entrepreneur that has worked at the intersection of healthcare and technology, and has touched all aspects of starting companies in complex industries. Having "been there and done it", he's committed to helping entrepreneurs build great companies. In addition, he has been a recipient of the Thiel Fellowship, Kairos Fellowship, James Dyson Award, and more. He currently is helping founders via the Lab2Market Program in Toronto.

Jim Hardin has over 15 years of experience building and investing in digital, life science and agricultural technology companies. Prior to the AVAC Group, he had a productive career as an academic in life sciences and published extensively in various areas of human and animal health. As a past company founder and entrepreneur himself, he has insight into the challenges of the entrepreneurial journey and actions needed to address them. In Jim’s role as co-lead of CARROT, his passion for mentoring innovative technology companies serves to identify and equip teams for significant commercial results.

David is a retired internet/digital serial entrepreneur, turned angel investor with a global health, food and tech portfolio. David has 20+ years of experience building companies and management teams from scratch and taking them to international success, and 10+ years as an investor in early stage ventures, helping them to enter global markets, raise capital and grow.

As the founder of Entrepreneurship Foundation Hungary, David is the creative mind behind the Hungarian government’s INPUT Program, which is recognized by the United Nations as a ‘Global Best Practice Program’ for fostering the innovation ecosystem.

His background includes being a university dropout, a US Government IVLP alumnus, graduate of the China Executive Leadership Academy on doing business in China, Board Member of the Chamber of Commerce of his hometown Győr, member of the Foreign Economic Committee of the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and industry in Budapest, Member of the European Parliament of Enterprises in Brussels for 2 terms, as well as an independent expert to the European Commission on SME development, innovation and entrepreneurship. David has been a frequent speaker and MC on entrepreneurship around the world, including GEW, The Kairos Summit, G20 YES, IMPACT, eit European Innovation Awards and UN global innovation events.

Beside Europe, David recently spends most of his time in Canada and served on the Governor General’s Canadian Innovation Awards Committee, is Member of the Culinary Institute of Canada, is a Board of Directors and investment committee member of Natural Products Canada and President of Angel Investment Partners Canada.

Suhas has over a decade of experience in Food and Agriculture as an Investor and Operator. He is currently responsible for making and managing investments on behalf of the firm across the AgriFood ecosystem, he has been instrumental in making five new investments and has worked on boards of companies that have a significant hardware component. Previously, Suhas has built and scaled a row crop seed business in India and has worked extensively with farmers. He also has a breadth of investment experience working on the limited partner side of private investments as well as in M&A and Buyouts.

Jenn Smith is the Director of Cornell University’s Grow-NY program, overseeing a $1M top prize startup competition focused on nurturing a dynamic food and ag ecosystem in Upstate New York. Her role draws on her background in craft beverage market development, most recently as the Executive Director of the New York Cider Association and the New York State Distillers Guild. In addition to working with NYCA and NYSDG, Jenn was an NYC-based consultant to food entrepreneurs creating value-added products and hospitality ventures. Before that, she was the marketing director of New York’s largest wine and spirits retailer, and earlier in her career was a director of early online community- and customer engagement for Citigroup, Bertelsmann, and Time Inc. She studied philosophy at Sarah Lawrence College, was certified in systems analysis at Columbia University, and attended culinary school at the Institute of Culinary Education.

Past Events:

2020 Gryphon's LAAIR Innovation Showcase and Pitch Competition

2019 Gryphon's LAAIR Innovation Showcase and Pitch Competition

Other Events:

Looking for other local opportunities to practice your pitch?

Please visit the Guelph Guide to Entrepreneurship to learn about other pitches, and events.