SSMARt Innovation Awards



Thank you to our amazing community and sponsors for the support of the 12th annual SSMARt Innovation Awards hosted by the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC).

The event was a huge success, even selling out with over 120 guests in attendance. The luncheon event honoured companies and influential individuals for their innovative contributions to the science and technology sectors of the Algoma District, and for their use of science and technology in innovative ways, making a positive economic, cultural, or social impact on the community. Sponsors include SooToday, OLG, Scotiabank and DOI Compass Imaging.


Congratulations to the 2017 SSMARt Innovation Award Winners. Learn all about them below! 


Innovation Company of the Year – Penokean Hills Farms
In 2005, a group of local family farmers from Algoma decided to collectively sell a high quality, healthy, and locally produced brand of beef native to Northern Ontario, giving local consumers increased access to a clean product. Since that time, the company was consolidated and bought by two of its members who are local farmers with a deep family history of farming high-quality products and a passion for the community.

This company adheres to strict beef raising guidelines, working with a beef scientist from the University of Guelph on best farming and beef raising practices. Products are processed in Algoma and distributed across Ontario. In 2015, the company purchased the local abattoir located in Bruce Mines. As the only abattoir in the entire Algoma district, it serves not only as an important asset to their farms, but to many other local farmers in the community.

Learn more at and


Innovation in Digital Media – Jeronamo Solutions for Vibe Eatery & Juice Co.

Through the deployment of a strictly digital campaign using a mix of social media, web advertising, website creation, online videos and email marketing, this award recipient developed a comprehensive campaign for the grand opening of a new restaurant in Sault Ste. Marie, which opened in the spring of 2017.

All of this lead to the restaurant selling out of almost all menu items and having to close in order to restock within days of launch, quickly becoming a highly popular and favourite stop for healthy and delicious food in the Sault.

Learn more about Jeronamo Solutions here and

Learn more about Vibe Eatery here and


Steve Butland Innovation Educator of the Year – Mark Carlucci, Teacher and Robotics Mentor with White Pines Collegiate and Vocational School

This educator is passionate and innovative in and out of the classroom. He displays a passion for robotics and all aspects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and encouraging participation from all students. He received the VEX Robotics Volunteer-of-the-Year Award with White Pines for his instrumental role in creating a robotics program at his school which has produced and mentored over 20 teams in the past three years. Recently, he led a Girl Powered event, a day for young girls to learn and engage with inspiring women in tech and spark an interest in the science, math, or technology sectors.


Innovation Leader of the Year – Kevin Rusnell with Digital Intelligence Group (DIG)

This leading digital strategist is always working to go above and beyond for his clients and team. Constantly keeping up to date on training and certification, he is key to maintaining his organization’s status as a Premier Google Partner – a status which only 2% of agencies achieve.

He is continuously working to maintain the organization’s vision and leadership in a competitive and ever-changing landscape. He works day to day delivering measurable results for clients and strong working relationships, and is known for being approachable, friendly, yet wise and proficient through his leadership and guidance.

Learn more about DIG here


Innovation Project of the Year – Wishart Law Firm LLP and the Wishart Municipal Group

The project saw the development of customized web-based tax arrears reporting software designed by this local law firm and its municipality division. The software supports an innovative IT membership-based solution for the delivery of legal services to municipalities.

When challenged with hundreds of physical files pouring in for a project, the demand for extensive tracking and manual processes created a need for improved interactivity, automation and efficiency. An innovative IT solution was envisioned and developed by a local software company, permitting software to work with clients and generate reports – quickly and accurately.

It was the first software of its kind, and now servicing over 10 municipalities with plans to become a provincial leader in the delivery of municipal law services.

Learn more about the Wishart Law Firm and its Wishart Municipal Law Group here


Innovation Startup of the Year – Black Fox Fishing

This business came up with an innovative solution to a problem, by creating a more efficient, simplistic and better engineered product that has one purpose: to help ice fishers catch more fish with a more reliable tool.

Incorporated in 2017, this Batchewana First Nations startup developed The Trigger, which is on track to triple sales since last year alone, from what was online sales based and has now landed in stores across Canada, including a partnership with Canadian Tire.

The business utilizes social media to its fullest and has garnered hundreds of thousands of video views on YouTube and Facebook, a strong following of fishing enthusiasts, and a network of ice fishing influencers across Canada and the US.

Learn more here and


Innovation in Social Entrepreneurship – Youth Odena and Food Bank Farm

This year’s Innovation in Social Entrepreneurship award was awarded to two different organizations.


Youth Odena

Since 2016, this award recipient has been a leading by-youth-for-youth advocacy group in Sault Ste. Marie who’s work concentrates on the health, arts, and culture sectors of the Sault. They work towards improving the socio-economic status of young people in the area.  The group uses a variety of digital and social media platforms to reach and engage at risk youth in Sault Ste. Marie, and design their programs and workshops with youth needs in mind.

Learn more at and


Food Bank Farm

This award recipient has changed the way food is delivered to food banks in the region, and is the only initiative of its kind in Canada. This local farmer and his business partner created a non-profit business in response to a need in the community for fresh produce to supplement the food currently provided to individuals and families via the current food bank system.

They produce a variety of high quality, nutritious produce items to those in the community who lack the financial resources to obtain food through traditional retail outlets. They grow, produce, and deliver the food, as well as provide education to community members about healthy food options such as how to cook and optimize produce on any budget.

Learn more and


Innovation Youth of the Year – Stormer Santana

This Sault Ste. Marie born and raised youth, now University of Denver senior student, has demonstrated a strong passion for entrepreneurship, technology, and mobile and web development. He is the Founder of Scoutr Sports, the first platform for athletes to anonymously rate and review their experience playing on competitive sports teams. The launch of this website garnered Canada-wide media attention, including a feature article in the coveted Hockey News and highly successful launch with users growing daily.

Following the launch of his business, he has maintained business operations in Sault Ste. Marie, recently hiring two interns to help with the business and returns home as often as possible.

Learn more about Scoutr Sports and




Innovation Company of the Year 

This award acknowledges a company’s leadership through the innovation of its science and/or technology products, services or research, the sustained growth of its assets and its dedication to community involvement. Science and/or technology and/or agriculture should be the primary focus of this emerging or expanding company.

Innovation in Digital Media

This award acknowledges the individuals/organizations responsible for developing effective use of digital media such as website, digital design or social media for marketing campaigns and/or ongoing promotion. This award category is open to both organizations and web design/media companies/agencies.

*Agencies must submit a single campaign per entry; however, multiple entries may be submitted.

Steve Butland Innovation Educator of the Year 

This award acknowledges a teacher or professor, who has made a substantial contribution to the science and/or technology sector through education, volunteering or sheer passion.  Contributions may be through use of innovative teaching methods in the classroom (i.e. engaging students with digital and advanced web methods such as podcasts, blogs, social media etc.); leadership in the area of science and/or technology, community involvement, leadership, entrepreneurship and volunteerism.

Innovation Leader of the Year 

This award acknowledges a leader, manager or executive whose leadership and/or creative use of science or technology (including digital media, social media, online networking tools etc.), or innovative thinking has helped to advance their organization, improve client/customer services and positively impact the local community, ideally science and technology. 

Innovation Project of the Year 

his award acknowledges an organization or business whose science and/or technology and/or agriculture project demonstrates leadership, innovation and/or creative use of science and/or technology. This award is designed for organizations or businesses that are not necessarily science and/or technology companies, but are using technology and/or science as an enabler to better serve their operation and/or clients.
An ideal project would include benefits such as the advancement of the organization or business, improvement of client/customer services and positive impact on the science and/or technology and/or agriculture community or the community at large. The project must have demonstrated tangible success/return to the organization or business. Pilot projects are acceptable nominations.

Innovation in Social Entrepreneurship

This award acknowledges an individual, organization or collective who has demonstrated leadership and innovation that has had a significant social, cultural or environmental impact in their community. The social innovator of the year will have used science and/or technology and/or agriculture (which may include software, digital applications, equipment, products, social media etc.) as a catalyst for positive change. This can be in the form of entrepreneurship and/or community initiatives and covers both non-profit and for-profit sectors.

Social entrepreneurship is defined as the use of the techniques by start up companies and other entrepreneurs or innovators to develop, fund and implement solutions to social, cultural, or environmental issues.

Innovation Startup of the Year – NEW CATEGORY

This award acknowledges a startup company’s leadership through the innovation and development of science and/or technology and/or agriculture products, services or research; its dedication to community involvement; and potential for growth and positive impact on the community. The company must be in the 'idea' or 'discovery' stage, generate a revenue lower than $100,000, developed an innovation in the Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) or Agriculture sector, benefited the community with its product/service, and be located in the Algoma region. 

Innovation Youth of the Year 

This award acknowledges an individual age 13 to 29, who has made a substantial contribution to the science and/or technology and/or agriculture sector through education, volunteering or sheer passion. Contributions may be through outstanding academic achievement; leadership in the area of science and/or technology and/or agriculture; community involvement; entrepreneurship; and/or volunteerism. It may also include the commercialization of new technology; development of innovative processes and products; diversity of research.

All nominations will be reviewed to ensure:

  • Nominees are accurately represented – in the work they do, commitment to the community and mandatory application questions are answered.
  • Nominees meet requirements/qualifications in the application to be considered for judging.
  • There is no conflict of interest with professional or business practices that would deem them not suitable for an innovation award.
  • Nominees are not currently employed by SSMIC, or have been within the past five years.
    • Excluding co-op students and volunteers. They will remain eligible to help encourage and foster science and tech career development and respect the co-op as a learning opportunity.
    • Incubator clients are permitted – they are not employed by SSMIC
  • Nominees are not currently a SSMIC board member, or have been within the past five years.




Meet our 2016 SSMARt Innovation Award Winners

Eight “Innovation of the Year” awards were awarded at the ceremony. Click here to view a video of our winners.

Innovation Company of the Year – STUFFF Lubricants Inc.

Founded by Bill and Vikoria Betournay of St. Joseph’s Island, STUFFF Lubricants Inc. manufactures non-toxic, environmentally-friendly lubricants and penetrants that are biodegradable, renewable and made from 100% recycled canola oil feedstock.  Since launching in 2014, STUFFF has been progressively growing – even securing a partnership with Home Hardware Canada, and is currently leading the bio-based lubricant market by offering products with applications that are suitable for the environment. Learn more at and

Steve Butland Innovation Educator of the Year – Micaela Mansfield

Micaela Mansfield is an innovative educator who encourages the use of technology in her classroom to enhance her students’ learning and capabilities. Micaela has incorporated a ‘flipped classroom’ method of teaching, using Google Apps for Education, plus a variety of other applications.  In partnership with a colleague, Micaela has helped create an app, called iCanProgress, that supports authentic assessment, documentation of student progress and visible student learning in the classroom with customizable rubrics and checklists, and it links directly back to the Ontario curriculum. 

Micaela has recently accepted the position of Curriculum Coordinator for Kindergarten to Grade 6 for the Huron Superior Catholic District School Board.

Innovation Project of the Year – Innovative Teachers Inc. for iCanProgress app

This project was created in Sault Ste. Marie by teachers, for teachers. Innovative Teachers Inc. aimed to strengthen communication between teachers, students and parents regarding student progress through the development of an app, called iCanProgress. This project is committed to transforming assessment practices in Ontario Elementary Education (K-8), focusing on providing educators with an intuitive platform that combines learning goals, success criteria, and descriptive feedback with parental engagement.  iCanProgress was officially launched in September of this year and currently has over 1,300 students at over 15 schools across Ontario. 

Innovation Researcher of the Year – Dr. Isabel Molina, Associate Professor with the Biology Department at Algoma University

Dr. Isabel Molina’s innovative research will impact industries ranging from forestry to biomaterials and biofuels, with much experience and expertise in the field of plant biology. Her passion is evidenced by her contributions in working with other researchers studying the genes responsible for making and maintaining the fatty acids and waxes plants use to assemble their cuticles. Helping plants – especially crops – to better withstand drought and high temperatures is increasingly important in an era of climate change.

Dr. Molina has recently been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) for a collaborative research project with The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation in Oklahoma, titled “A class II KNOX gene, KONX4, controls see physical dormancy.

Innovation in Social Entrepreneurship – Entomica

Entomica inspires learning in Sault Ste. Marie for both locals and tourists to the region by providing the community with an opportunity to experience and interact with spectacular insects from all over the world – acting as a catalyst for social engagement and education.  Entomica is the only insectarium, zoo, natural history museum, and science centre in Canada that not only allows, but also invites each and every visitor to hold the different insects in an effort to inhibit fear and teach people that insects are a natural and critical part of our world and environment. 

Entomica recently won two prestigious science awards in the same year from the Canadian Association of Science Centres, including Best Program for a Small Institution, and one for the Making a Difference in Canada Award.

Innovation Student/Graduate of the Year – Conner Flood

Conner Flood, an Algoma University graduate currently working on his Masters of Mathematics (Computer Science) from the University of Waterloo, has been working on many innovative projects, including an induction proof generator that has been launched on the Wolfram|Alpha website as a free tool for students. Conner is now focusing on completing his thesis, which involves designing and implementing a web application for Mathbrush – a pen recognition application, which is used for recognizing mathematical expressions as you draw them. 

Conner has also been involved with an application that assists users with completing kitchen-related tasks using syndetic assistance processes.  As well as conducting research on Brain Computer Interfaces (BCIs) that allow people with locked-in syndrome to communicate without moving a muscle and implementing various networking solutions including a Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP).  

Innovation in Web and Social Media – Invasive Species Centre for their Asian Carp Campaign

Through the deployment of the Asian Carp Campaign, the Invasive Species Centre developed invaluable digital and social media tools -- a website, Facebook Page, Twitter account, and a seven-part Webinar series – informing people of the dangers of Asian Carp in the Great Lakes , and This science-based, multi-platform campaign has met the informational needs of audiences by targeting students, youths, professionals, members of Indigenous communities, academia, and naturalists in the Great Lakes Region.  The campaign has developed easy-to-use products and materials that are appropriate for multiple audiences and circumstances.

Innovation Youth of the Year – Michelle Delorme

Michelle is a grade 11 student at St. Mary’s College who has a passion for botany and community outreach and engagement.  Under the supervision of her science teacher, Mrs. O’Donnell, Michelle has taken the initiative to create and maintain a vegetable garden at St. Mary’s College.  Michelle strategically planned and planted different produce amoung 10 raised garden beds.  The harvested produce was weekly donated to St. Vincent de Paul or the Soup Kitchen.  Michelle also maintains exceptional grades, while volunteering and working at other organizations in the community. She is a Duke of Edinburgh award recipient, competitive swimmer and Soo Finnish Nordic Ski Club Coach.