Congratulations to the 2023 winners of the Big Future Innovation Grant:
aGRO Systems + Quarter Cuts!

Credit unions know the value of small businesses

That’s why Credit Unions of Alberta offers two Alberta-based businesses $25,000 each to propel innovation and power growth as part of the Big Future Innovation Grant.

The 2023 Grant is now closed.

You can read more about the two finalists below: aGRO Systems Inc. and Quarter Cuts Ltd.

If you’d like to be added to the mailing list for the 2024 grant, email us to be added to the list.

2023 Winners

aGRO Systems Inc.

aGRO Systems is a waste up-cycling and livestock feeding service provider and on a mission to grow, raise, and produce healthy carbon-neutral food and drink and help other agri-producers and agri-processors do the same profitably.

Learn more: agrosystems.ca

aGRO Systems Inc.
2023 Winner
Quarter Cuts Ltd.

Quarter Cuts Ltd. is a butcher shop located outside Vermilion, Alberta that offers quality products and is focused on supporting the community. They are working to innovate new ways for butchers and food producers to get to zero waste.

Learn more: quartercuts.ca

Quarter Cuts Ltd. 
2023 Winner

2023 Judges

Simon Bullard

The past decade of Simon’s life has been delivery, delivery and more delivery. It was a chance encounter on the streets of Beijing, of all places, he got his first introduction into the tech logistics world.

While at a real estate agency, looking for shelter two weeks after landing in his new city, he bumped into two founders of a recently launched food delivery startup called Jinshisong. It didn’t take long for Simon to join the team. This was cutting edge at the time. The tech driven food delivery explosion had not hit China yet but they knew it was coming. They were the first movers in Beijing and it was exciting to be apart of that early core group.

After acquiring tremendous experience and a lot of learning, it came time for Simon to leave as he had ambitions to start his own venture in China. It was somewhat accidental again but he cofounded and became CEO of a healthy meal plan subscription service called Doko. The first three years of operation were exclusively driven by an online ordering system and delivery. By year four, three storefronts were opened but delivery remained a core part of the business.

He achieved his goal of starting a company in China but as they say, all good things must come to an end. Following his exit from the company, Simon decided it was time to head home. China ignited the startup flame but he knew the next one was going to be on home turf with home field advantage.

moovez is a culmination of that East-West experience. As a witness and small participant in a country that transformed into a tech and logistics powerhouse, Simon was able to bring this unique perspective back with him and identify areas where Canada lagged behind. He realized almost immediately the logistics industry was in serious need of innovation. Teaming up with Saroj Acharya as lead Technical Advisor, they set out to build a platform that will provide an innovative solution to an out-of-date industry.

They look forward to delivering on their promise that moovez will transform the way Canadians move their stuff.

Simon Bullard
moovez
Rob Gray

Rob Gray joined Servus Credit Union as Vice President, Communications in August 2022. Before joining Servus, Rob held communications and stakeholder relations leadership roles at COSIA (Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance), Alliance Pipeline (an Enbridge/Pembina Partnership), PSAC (Petroleum Services Association of Canada), and the Canadian Mental Health Association. Prior to that, he worked at the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Rob works collaboratively to build organizational brand and reputation, shape public and consumer opinion, and create stakeholder support. He also has a keen interest in innovation and sustainability.

What innovation means to him: “Innovation is when the spark of an idea ignites into something the propels individuals, companies and society forward. Innovation is about ingenuity and determination to create something better than existed before, which brings us into the future.”

Rob Gray
Servus Credit Union
Andrea Salkeld

With a rich history spanning over 15 years in the finance industry, I started my career while attending business school at S.A.I.T. My expertise in both Retail and Business Banking, complemented by an extensive understanding of connectFirst Credit Unions products and values, allows me to offer a holistic approach to financial services. I am truly driven by a passion for delivering exceptional member experiences and take immense pride in my capacity to provide the most tailored solutions to meet unique financial needs. My well-established connections within the industry serve as a vital resource, ensuring I remain at the forefront of the latest financial trends and technologies. My overarching aim is to assist members in realizing their financial objectives, firmly believing that the foundation of success lies in forging enduing relationships with my members. I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to work alongside members, delivering the expert guidance and unwavering support they rightfully deserve.

What innovation means to her: “Innovation to me is the relentless pursuit of smarter, more efficient solutions that adapt to evolving needs and push the boundaries of what’s possible in the modern world.”

Andrea Salkeld
connectFirst Credit Union
Randall Sugden

Randall is the Chief Executive Officer of Rocky Credit Union, which manages $448 Million in assets under administration, and proudly employs 44 individuals. Randall was elected to RCU’s Board in 1999 and was fortunate to join the ranks of staff in 2007 as the Chief Financial Officer. In 2017 assumed his current role as CEO. He is privileged to work with an exceptional group of individuals that lead the strategic visioning for RCU, with a Member First focus.

Randall’s educational background includes a Commerce Degree from the University of Saskatchewan as well as numerous cooperative leadership courses and diplomas. 

Randall also serves on the boards of the Evergreen Cooperative Association and RMH Health Foundation.

What innovation means to him: Rocky Credit Union sees innovation as turning an idea into a solution that adds value.

Randall Sugden
Rocky Credit Union
Lysa Van Herk

Having earned my Bachelor of Commerce degree, I embarked on a fulfilling career journey at Christian Credit Union over 13 years ago. Starting as a summer intern, and working in different roles, I grew passionate about helping members. My expertise lies in assisting individuals come up with plans and insights aiming to align their finances with their values and reduce financial stress. I find joy in guiding members through various life stages by fostering confidence in their financial strategies. I strongly believe in setting and achieving short-term and long-term goals, supporting members from their first investments to retirement transitions. With a focus on understanding diverse values, I provide expert advice and collaborative investment strategies. My career as an Investment and Insurance Advisor enables me to offer a comprehensive range of products for both investment and protection needs. My dedication lies in helping members find contentment in their financial journey while planning for a secure future. My current role is as a Investment Advisor and Insurance Advisor with Credential Financial Strategies at Christian Credit Union.

 

What innovation means to her: “Innovation to me means envisioning a brighter future and coming up with new ideas and creative ways to make things better. It involves experimenting, adapting, and improving existing processes or creating new ones.”

Lysa Van Herk
Christian Credit Union

The Big Future Innovation Grant is brought to you by Credit Unions of Alberta and Alberta Central.
Credit Unions of Alberta represents the 13 credit unions located across the province and Alberta Central is the central banking facility, service bureau and trade association for Alberta’s credit unions.
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