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Three Sherbrooke start-ups among the winners of the CED Fast Forward Challenge
[August 30, 2019]

Three Sherbrooke start-ups among the winners of the CED Fast Forward Challenge

The Government of Canada awards a total of $500,000 in grants to an ingenious next generation

SHERBROOKE, QC, Aug. 30, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED)

The CED Fast Forward Challenge specifically aims to strengthen the regions' assets by building on boldness and ingenuity. In the Eastern Townships, it was the companies Cigogne Technologies Inc., SB Technologies Inc. and Technologie Hoola One Inc. that won a $50,000 grant each.

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Member of Parliament for Compton–Stanstead and Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food today announced the names of the ten innovative start-ups that were proclaimed as winners of the first CED Fast Forward Challenge.

In addition to the three companies in Sherbrooke, they are: CANN Forecast Logiciel Inc., Cigogne Technologies Inc., Femtum Inc., Laboratoire Innodal, Puzzle Medical Devices Inc., Pyrocycle, Les Solutions Keenoa Inc. (commonly known as Keenoa), and Wastack (943129 Canada Inc.). These ingenious entrepreneurs will be able to turn their business projects into reality when their companies receive grants totalling half a million dollars awarded by Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED).

The CED Fast Forward Challenge is a pilot project that aims to support innovative entrepreneurship in young people. Launched in January 2019, this competition offered 10 start-up companies in high-tech sectors the possibility of receiving a $50,000 grant. Roughly 72 companies from various regions of Quebec took part in the competition. Out of those, 20 finalist projects were presented to an expert panel on May 27 and 28.

The CED Fast Forward Challenge reflects the Government of Canada's commitment, under the Federal Strategy on Innovation and Growth for the Quebec Regions, to foster the development of new companies by investing in innovation and talent. It will help increase the number of young people who will be at the forefront of innovation in Quebec in the coming years. Supporting innovative start-ups is also one of CED's priorities.


"Through the CED Fast Forward Challenge, these young talents will be able to turn their entrepreneurial dream into reality. I'm keen to see the results of the business projects by the Eastern Townships winners. A new generation of innovative entrepreneurs is building a very bright future for us."

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Member of Parliament for Compton–Stanstead and Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

"Young innovative businesses are key to the strength of the Canadian economy. The financial assistance awarded to these companies is concrete support for the next generation of entrepreneurs in high-tech sectors, in keeping with the Federal Strategy on Innovation and Growth for the Quebec Regions. Congratulations to the winners and to all those who want to go into business by venturing off the beaten path."

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for CED

Quick facts

  • Today's announcement is made on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister responsible for the Innovation, Science and Economic Development portfolio, which comprises 17 federal departments and agencies including CED and the other five regional development agencies.
  • Launched in January 2019, the CED Fast Forward Challenge is a pilot project for encouraging innovative entrepreneurship in young members of the engineering community.
  • It stems from the Federal Strategy on Innovation and Growth for the Quebec Regions. Led by CED, with the participation of other federal departments, the Strategy targets four priorities and 14 areas for action to promote the adoption and development of innovative practices and ensure growth for everyone and for all Quebec regions.
  • The funding was awarded under CED's Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program. To find out more about CED and its priorities, see the 2021 Departmental Plan or visit

Related product

  • For more details about the winning companies and their business projects, please read the associated backgrounder




 Grant – Company and Project Description

CANN Forecast Software Inc.

$50,000 grant

CANN Forecast applies artificial intelligence (AI) to help protect the most precious resource on Earth: water. The dynamic multidisciplinary team develops innovative tools to help clients proactively manage water, which reduces waste and protects public health during recreational activities.

Project description: the company has designed an AI-based software program for managing municipal water (a solution for targeting water pipes at risk of breaking and a solution for predicting water quality in real time).

Head office: Montreal

Cigogne Technologies Inc.

$50,000 grant

Cigogne Technologies provides innovative biomedical transporting solutions to ensure the integrity of the products delivered and to improve accessibility of them in remote regions.

Project description: the company has developed an intelligent refrigerated compartment that keeps vaccines and medications between 2°C and 8°C during transporting. Lightweight, accurate and unique, the compartment adapts to all delivery modes, including transporting by drone.

Head office: Sherbrooke

Femtum Inc.

$50,000 grant

Femtum is a company that markets the next generation of fibre optic lasers for leading-edge applications in advanced machining and photonics. With its unique patented technologies, the mid-infrared spectral region has never been more accessible.

Project description: the company provides a fibre optic laser for precision machining of non-metallic materials such as organic and plastic materials.

Head office: Québec

Laboratoire Innodal

$50,000 grant

Innodal is an innovative company that develops natural antimicrobial agents that replace conventional chemical preservatives. These natural agents inhibit and protect food from microbiological pathogens. Innodal helps maintain trust between consumers and food-processing companies by preventing costly microbiological recalls.

Project description: the company produces natural antimicrobial agents from probiotics. These antimicrobials effectively eliminate contaminants such as E. Coli, Listeria, Salmonella and mould. It is an effective, natural alternative to conventional chemical agents.

Head office: Québec

Puzzle Medical Devices Inc.

$50,000 grant

By combining advances in cardiac surgery and interventionist cardiology, Puzzle Medical Devices makes hemodynamic support safer, more accessible and reduces the global economic burden of heart failure. Puzzle Medical Devices was hugely successful in carrying out its first in vivo implant.

Project description: Puzzle Medical Devices develops the first long-term hemodynamic support that is implanted using an innovative transcatheter technology for patients with advanced heart failure.

Head office: Montréal


$50,000 grant

Pyrocycle offers a new, cost-effective technology for recycling electronic waste, which prevents environmental pollution and supports a circular economy.

Project description: this is a new thermo-chemical, non-polluting, economical and inexpensive process for recycling electronic waste through the recovery of contaminated plastics and the extraction of base and precious metals.

Head office: Montréal

SB Technologies Inc.

$50,000 grant

SB Technologies develops and markets diamond-based quantum magnetometers for commercial and research applications. Their goal is to revolutionize magnetic anomaly detection by revealing faults in hidden environmental structures and enabling new capabilities for surveillance and rescue missions.

Project description: SB Technologies provides a new type of magnetometer for inspecting the integrity of hidden structures (e.g. underground pipes, very large industrial retention ponds, etc.).

Head office: Sherbrooke

Les Solutions Keenoa Inc.

$50,000 grant

Keenoa enables dietitians to use state-of-the-art technologies for accessing their clients' consumption data. With these tools, dietitians are able to increase their reach and maximize their impact on population health.

Project description: Keenoa is an intelligent food diary that connects dietitians to their patients in real time. Through photo recognition of foods, patients can easily track their eating habits, which are instantly available in their dietitian's web application.

Head office: Montréal

Hoola One Technology Inc.

$50,000 grant

Plastics are now found everywhere in our environment, including the entire world's shores. Hoola One Technology has set itself the challenge of designing a machine for effectively filtering out plastic particles on beaches so that the flora and fauna no longer suffer from plastic pollution. 

Project description: the technology developed by the company helps restore a beach's ecosystems by collecting and separating out small plastic particles using the density of various components. 

Head office: Sherbrooke


(9943129 Canada Inc.)

$50,000 grant

Wastack automates landfill operations for improved performance while reducing their environmental impact. The company starts by automating the way that the presence of birds is mitigated at the sites using AI-compatible deterrents that compete with falconers and birds of prey.

Project description: Wastack pursues an automated management system for controlling birds at landfill sites. The system uses AI to recognize the various types of birds and triggers the appropriate combination of lasers, speakers and/or propane guns to keep birds away.

Head office: Montréal


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SOURCE Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions

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