The University of Manitoba’s Stu Clark Investment Competition (SCIC) was held on March 11-12 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The international business competition is designed to showcase new and independent ventures in the seed, start-up, or early growth stages. Graduate student-developed business ideas with investment potential are presented in front of panels of professional judges in both qualifying and final competition rounds.
Kyle Bassett, a PhD student (Engineering), is the first University of Windsor student to ever compete in the SCIC. He travelled to the competition with a mentor from the Odette School of Business, Dr. Thomas Kenworthy. Kyle placed second overall out of 16 teams from North America and Thailand. He was awarded $10,000 CDN for the finish and $1,000 CDN for the top Canadian university.
At the SCIC, Kyle presented a business that is a driving force in his life. He is the founder of RMRD Tech, a company that produces a portable, micro wind turbine. The inspiration for the product derives from a trip to Nicaragua in which he designed and constructed turbines for a remote seaside village. The power generated, though small, had a substantially positive impact on the lives of locals. The results motivated Bassett to develop a robust and reliable solution that could benefit people around the world. In order to fund development, Kyle launched a successful Kickstarter campaign one year ago, collecting over $45,000 CDN and shipping turbines to backers across the globe. In October 2015, Kyle won $25,000 CDN in the 2014/2015 David McFadden Energy Entrepreneur Challenge.
The Stu Clark Investment Competition provided Kyle with an opportunity to present his concept as investment-worthy. In order to compete, he needed to submit a business plan and provide a 15 minute presentation. The plan spoke to the rural electrification market, mentioned above, and an outdoor enthusiast market (e.g. hiking, fishing, and camping) that emerged from the Kickstarter campaign.
Of his experiences to date, Kyle indicated, “One thing that I can take away from this whole experience is learning to keep an international perspective on things. What is being developed today is cutting edge technology that will shape our world in years to come. During my presentation, the looks on the judges’ faces were priceless and extremely motivating to further push me to develop my business and product. Just seeing how far I’ve come – from my initial start with a lack of resources – is extremely satisfying. The EPICentre has provided me with legal help and product development space that has helped me to get to where I am today.”
Kyle plans on launching a new line of turbines in the next 12 – 24 months, in addition to adding a consulting stream for large infrastructure projects. Currently, his production facility is housed in the Industrial Courtyard of the Ed Lumley Engineering Building on the University of Windsor campus.
For more information about RMRD Tech, visit: http://www.rmrdtech.com/