The Nyoka Light Wand is a non-toxic, biodegradable glow stick, powered with bioluminescence. Photo supplied

Courtenay company wins Startup Canada competition

Courtenay-based Nyoka Design Labs has won a $2,500 prize in a regional competition hosted by Startup Canada, qualifying for the national finals Oct. 20.

Startup Canada represents entrepreneurs such as Paige Whitehead and Yamila Franco, co-founders of Nyoka.

“After three rounds of high-stakes pitching, our whole team sat eyes glued to the screen waiting for the Startup Challenge results to appear,” Whitehead said in a blog. “And then – Yamila’s name appeared on the screen!”

For the competition, Franco made a pitch from the Nyoka Design Labs workshop at the MakeItZone in Courtenay.

Winners in the Oct. 20 Canadian Export Challenge will receive $5,000 (startup category) and $25,000 (scale-up category), and up to $100,000 in in-kind support.

Nyoka has a mission to make innovative, eco-friendly products the norm. Whitehead invented the Nyoka Light Wand, a non-toxic, biodegradable glow stick.

The company has also received $150,000 in grant funding to hire a small team to participate in a UBC program dubbed Lab2Launch.

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