A self-proclaimed “digital Indiana Jones”, Trent University student Jeremy Brooks has taken home the grand prize in the 2018 Cubs’ Lair entrepreneurial competition, held last night (November 22) at the Gordon Best Theatre in downtown Peterborough.
The archaeology graduate student won for his virtual reality platform AVROD (Archaeological Virtual Reality Online Database), which he created to advance the way archaeologists work and learn.
Working out of the Innovation Cluster incubator and using resources in The Cube’s Virtual and Augmented Reality Zone, Brooks has turned two archaeological sites (including one in Mongolia) into a virtual reality experience, where archaeology students can virtually interact with the archaeological sites.
“AVROD allows students to learn about global sites without having to travel there, not to mention avoiding potentially dangerous countries,” Brooks says.
Brooks’ idea was one of five pitched to a panel of judges during the annual competition for young entrepreneurs, hosted by FastStart Peterborough, the Innovation Cluster and the Trent Youth Entrepreneurship Society.
The judging panel was Kate Withers (business development manager with Ontario Centres of Excellence), Jennifer Olauson (academic chair of the School of Business at Fleming College), Diane Richard (president of Diatom Consulting), Jim Gastle (patent agent and owner of Gastle and Associates), and Helen Smith (CPA, CMA, and CGMA with Part Time CFO Services).
The judges commented that Brooks has high potential to grow his business, as there is a need for it in the industry and his platform is first to market. Statistics show the majority of virtual reality platforms created are for gaming, second being neuroscience, and the third being education like AVROD’s platform.
In addition to bragging rights, Brooks has won a prize package valued at more than $10,000.
The package includes six months of incubation space at the Innovation Cluster (valued at $2,500), $1,500 worth of digital marketing services from WCKD Marketing, $1,500 in digital advertising from kawarthaNOW.com, and cash and financial, coaching, consulting services from various local businesses.
The runners up were Dylan Trepanier of Alexander Optical, a health care service provider that organizes pop-up mobile exams clinics, and Noah Latendre of Dillon Ahola of Opened Minds, an inclusive clothing line.