Cold Climate Innovation wins startup prize

Yukon’s got talents, but more importantly, it has people who work to foster those talents.

Yukon’s got talents, but more importantly, it has people who work to foster those talents.

On Tuesday, the Yukon Research Centre’s Cold Climate Innovation centre won the 2016 entrepreneur support award from Startup Canada for B.C. and the North.

Cold Climate Innovation provides funding and assistance to Yukon entrepreneurs trying to create solutions for northern problems.

It’s a program based out of the Yukon Research Centre at Yukon College.

“I’m excited of course,” CCI’s director Stephen Mooney told the News Tuesday. “It’s an honour.”

Mooney said the CCI won in the B.C. and North category, which includes places like Vancouver and Victoria, both of which have strong startup cultures.

In 2015 alone CCI supported 43 projects with $3.6 million in cash and in-kind services.

CCI has a budget of $350,000 a year, but through partnerships is able to leverage that money, Mooney said.

On top of Mooney, there are two innovation officers who work with entrepreneurs.

Since Mooney took over CCI in 2010, there’s been a plethora of projects, from growing duckweed to feed ducks, to a radon-reducing gadget, to a high-tech aeroponics dome to grow food year-round.

“Everyone’s idea is the best,” he said. “There is no lack of enthusiasm coming through the door of our offices.”

And it’s been fun.

“I like helping people, I love technology and I love giving money away,” he said.

Mooney is most proud of Garret Gillespie’s plastic separator.

The invention separates plastic from compost in landfills.

The CCI has been working with him for five years. Last year he got a U.S. patent for his invention, and he recently signed a long-term contract with a U.S. company, Mooney said.

“Every landfill in the world could use one of these projects,” Mooney said.

Mooney insists the CCI’s door is always open to any Yukoners who think they have the next big invention to solve one of the North’s problems.

He said Alaska can be a potential market for many of the innovations CCI supports, because the state is facing issues similar to the Yukon’s.

The CCI will only take on projects it thinks can be commercialized, Mooney said.

Even though sometimes ideas require a bit of work.

“When Gillespie came through the doors five years ago … his idea around the prototype, I didn’t think was that good,” Mooney said.

But it had potential, and after successfully building the first prototype, Gillespie started innovating to make it viable.

The award means the CCI will advance to the national stage, competing with other similar organizations across Canada.

The award grand finale is scheduled for Nov. 29 in Toronto.

Contact Pierre Chauvin at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Yukon Department of Education building in Whitehorse on Dec. 22, 2020. Advocates are calling on the Department of Education to reverse their redefinition of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) that led to 138 students losing the program this year. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Advocates call redefinition of IEPs “hugely concerning,” call for reversal

At least 138 students were moved off the learning plans this year

Medical lab technologist Angela Jantz receives her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Whitehorse hospital on Jan. 13. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Online booking system for Moderna vaccine opens as mobile teams prepare to visit communities

“The goal is to protect everyone and stop the spread of COVID-19”


Wyatt’s World for Jan. 15, 2021

Zhùr, the ancient wolf pup found mummified in permafrost at Last Chance Creek mine in July 2016. (Government of Yukon/Submitted)
‘Mummy’ wolf pup unearthed in permafrost paints a picture of ice age ancestors

Zhùr is the best preserved and most complete mummy of an ancient wolf found to date.

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21, 2020. Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive up to $20,000 to help recover from losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Details released on relief funding for tourism and culture non-profits

Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive… Continue reading

Mayo-Tatchun MLA Don Hutton won’t be runing for re-election. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Mayo-Tatchun MLA won’t run for re-election

Liberal MLA Don Hutton won’t be running for re-election. A former wildland… Continue reading

Large quantities of a substance believed to be cocaine, a large amount of cash, several cells phones and a vehicle were all seized after RCMP searched a Whistle Bend home on Jan. 6. (Photo courtesy RCMP)
Seven arrested after drug trafficking search

RCMP seized drugs, money from Whistle Bend residence on Jan. 6

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read