Manitou a bi Bii daziigae hosts innovation challenge for students

By: Charles Fernandes

Creativity and innovation had the ultimate team up with the Sprint to Innovate: The Innovation Challenge hosted by Red River College Polytechnic last week.

The event gave post-secondary students in Manitoba a chance to display their talents using innovation in the business and tech industry. 

“It’s an opportunity to learn about innovation, to network with industry, to build your team working skills, and make those connections,” said Cristy Kubara, the strategy coordinator at RRC Polytech and event organizer.

Teams of four to six students worked together, learned from a mentor in the industry, and created an innovative solution that was presented to a panel of judges on the final day. 

There were seven different challenges focusing on important issues in Manitoba. They ranged from making the City of Winnipeg snow clearing system the best in Canada to creating campus and bus shelter safety training for students.

“We are great friends, why not do it? We think we’re good and we’ll have a chance to learn new things and why not win a prize?” said Edwin Alarcon, a Business Management student at RRC Polytech.

Students network before the start of Sprint to Innovation: The Innovation Challenge event on Jan. 26, 2023. It was hosted in the Roadhouse Auditorium in the Manitou a bi Bii daziigae building on the Exchange District campus. (Charles Fernandes)

The winning team of the event came away with connections in the industry and up to $15,000 in cash prizes. 

It was also important for Kubara to host the event in the Manitou a bi Bii daziigae building. They wanted to make it clear the facility paves the way for future innovation. 

“We felt as a new building for the college, it promotes innovation, it’s a good innovation space and it just made sense to have the event here,” Kubara said. 

With the event open to all current post-secondary students, it attracted a wide range of competitors from campuses across the city. 

“I’m really hoping to get experience. I like doing case competition style events. I do them for fun, but it’s interesting meeting people and getting down to using creative ability,” said Adrien Dinzey, an engineering student at the University of Manitoba.

He was also excited to be working in the Manitou a bi Bii daziigae building during the event. 

“When I walked in, I couldn’t help but notice how cool this place looked. I really like it for sure,” said Dinzey. “It’s a really nice design and it suits the theme of innovation.”

The event was a huge success and the first-place team, made up of RRC Polytech students, won $6,000, plus an additional $550 for making the semi-finals. 

Given the event’s overall success, it is expected to return in 2024.