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Local innovative products get marquee showcase

A pair of local companies will showcase and celebrate their innovative products at an upcoming exhibition in Guelph.

Breslau-based Avidrone Aerospace and Appleflats, operated by two Wellesley brothers, will join a variety of vendors at the Innovation Expo. The event, the largest of its kind in Guelph, displays the 150-plus companies across southern Ontario that have received funding from Innovation Guelph’s Fuel Injection and BioEnterprise’s Seed Funding programs.

The Avidrone Aerospace will show off their innovative unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technologies during the event.

“Their aircraft systems cut costs in the industry, lift more, go faster, deliver goods to unreachable places, and enable new methods and applications globally,” said Mickey Campeau, organizer and program manager at Innovation Guelph.

“[Controlling] it’s almost like a video game … you can steer and drive it from inside the building; it’s very neat.”

The drones have mastered flying at speeds in excess of 270 kilometres per hour and can lift and deliver hundreds of pounds of cargo, carrying it over 100 kilometres beyond visual line of sight. The technology is ideal for industrial, commercial, military resupply, and emergency operations.

Avidrone Aerospace brings custom unmanned aerial system (UAS) aircraft platforms to life – the company been maturing and developing some of the world’s best UAV technologies since 2007.

Appleflats, on the other hand, will showcase a variety of more edible products, from crabapple jelly to cocktail mixers.

“Appleflats crabapples are hand-picked and never sprayed with pesticides or herbicides,” said Campeau. “Their delicious products are made with simple ingredients and without artificial colours or sweeteners.”

Sweet maple crabapple mixer and spicy crabapple jelly are just a few of their unique products on display in some 200 locations across Ontario sporting a Wellesley label, including in Elmira, St. Clements and St. Jacobs.

Since being involved in the seed funding program at Innovation Guelph, the co-owners have improved their sales, increased their product line, expanded their reach, opened a storefront, grown their team, attracted follow-on investment, conduct orchard tours and have built a custom crabapple sorting machine.

The idea for Wellesley brothers Glen and Alex Smyth to start the crabapple business came in 2013 before they eventually went commercial in 2016.

“To top it off, they’ve really learned how to work well together,” added Campeau. “Doing all of this while being brothers, isn’t always an easy feat; these guys are excelling at it. We’re excited to taste what’s next.”

The two organizations will join more than 80 exhibitors on the tradeshow floor from a variety of sectors including agri-food, agri-tech, manufacturing, social innovation and sustainable technologies. They may give demonstrations or taste-tests depending on the type of product.

Companies that are unable to attend will be given a special mention during the expo. Not only will one-of-a-kind products be showcased, the event should make an excellent chance to network.

“What a great opportunity to meet with innovative companies who’ve taken the steps to build sustainable companies and who are contributing to our economic ecosystem,” said Anne Toner Fung, executive director of Innovation Guelph, in a release.

The event is a collaboration between Innovation Guelph and BioEnterprise; this will mark the second year of an Innovation Expo. It saw some 700 attendees come out to last year’s event.

“Since 2016, Innovation Guelph and Bioenterprise have collectively funded over 170 companies with over $2.8 million distributed to entrepreneurs,” said Dave Smardon, president and CEO of Bioenterprise. “Our collective impact has contributed to the creation of 536 jobs.”

While the funding for this particular program has come to an end, both companies continue to support startups, scaling companies, and the more traditional small-and-medium sized organizations. More than anything, Campeau hopes that attendees walk away with a sense of inspiration.

“I hope people get the same kind of excitement that it gives to all of us here,” said Campeau. “Through these companies, there’s been $100 million given back to into the economy that’s been generated through add-on investment and new revenues. They’re a pretty substantial group of companies that are doing some really amazing things. There are all kinds of people doing all kinds of amazing things.”

The Innovation Expo is taking place today (October 3) at the Grand Guelph from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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