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App for skilled workers declared winner in innovation challenge

Annual student business pitch event hosted by Cambrian R&D in Sudbury
From left are Bill Bray, judge, from RBC; Justine Martine, judge, from Guilty Pleasures Bakeshop + Catering; Manisha Ranga and Athif Mohamed Shaffy, award winners; Kristine Morrissey, Cambrian’s vice-president of administration; and Shouyi Ma, judge, of Hanson Canada.

A smartphone app that connects customers with skilled workers is the winning idea from the Cambrian R&D 2023 Student Innovation Challenge.

Devised by students Manisha Ranga and Athif Mohamed Shaffy, Work4U helps skilled workers, such as plumbers, carpenters, electricians, or gardeners, find small jobs. Those needing a job done simply post their requirements along with pictures and descriptions and those looking for the work can accept the project and get started.

As the first-place winners, Ranga and Mohamed Shaffy take home $3,000, as well as an additional $500 for the Best Use of Technology prize.

Second place in the challenge went to Ghislain Mallette of Lucky Latch, a safety locking mechanism for walk-in bathtubs to prevent flooding homes. That idea won Mallette $2,000.

Third place goes to Samuel Emeribe and Ankith Kunnoth for The Solution, an app-based platform with a goal to identify, showcase and connect entrepreneurs and innovators with the right investors or organizations who can support the growth of new ideas and startup companies. The pair earned $1,000 for their idea.

The annual challenge, which is funded by RBC, enables students to complete a series of workshops to help refine and present their pitches for a new product or service. A panel of judges made up of industry representatives selected the winners.

Cambrian R&D is the applied research arm of Cambrian College in Sudbury.