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OPG is looking to spark some inventive ideas with a new partnership that fosters Canadian innovation.

The company is teaming up with Spark Innovation Centre, a non-profit that supports entrepreneurs in Durham Region and Northumberland County, to spearhead this year’s Ignite Start-up Pitch Competition. The annual contest seeks to inspire entrepreneurs, with the ultimate goal of creating jobs and economic growth for Durham Region.

The Ignite challenge, now in its fifth year, is supported by several municipalities and businesses across Durham Region. OPG, which operates both the Darlington and Pickering nuclear generating stations in the region, hopes to collaborate with innovators, entrepreneurs and businesses to develop next-generation technology and improvements specifically in the inspection industry.

The winner of the pitch competition in the new OPG category will work with the company and receive $25,000 of seed funding to further develop their brilliant idea. All contestants will receive mentoring from inspection and maintenance professionals throughout the competition. “Innovation is a key pillar of OPG,” said Jason Van Wart, OPG’s Vice-President, Inspection and Maintenance Services. “We are proud to partner with Spark and the Ignite competition to spur innovation across Ontario.” OPG’s inspection and maintenance division utilizes industry-leading techniques and technology to inspect and maintain the Darlington and Pickering stations. The division also inspects the company’s hydroelectric and thermal stations, and lends its services to the energy sector worldwide.

This year’s contest will seek out the best ideas in four categories of innovation: Discovery, Scale-up, Student Entrepreneur, and the OPG category. Pitches will be judged by successful entrepreneurs, industry professionals and seasoned investors.

The OPG category of the competition is looking for innovative inspection ideas in automation and robotics, drones (or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), underwater inspections, laser scanning and mapping, non-destructive examination, process management, data visualization, and software solutions. “OPG is looking to be a leader in the innovation space to improve its business,” said Vinay Kirpalaney,

Section Manager for Business Development, Inspection and Maintenance Services. “The main effort with this pitch contest is to reach out to communities and innovators to tell them we’re interested in hearing their ideas.” The application process for all Ignite categories opens August 21 and closes September 29. Two rounds of pitches will take place, with a winner in the OPG category announced in December.

Those interested in applying for this year’s contest can visit www.ignitedurham.ca/opg

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