His passion for using technology to help better understand the world has led Michael Lucenkiw to the RBC EPIC Founders program.
A graduate of programs in fine arts (MFA 2020), environmental science, and landscape architecture, he created a company, Environment Machine Shop, to leverage citizen science-based strategies to improve ecological awareness.
“An important value of the company is to expand the definition of researcher to include scientists, artists, hobbyist, and curious citizens,” Lucenkiw says.
He plans his first product to be a device to enable anyone to contribute to monitoring water quality.
The Entrepreneurship Practice and Innovation Centre (EPICentre) hosts the founders program, a 12-week startup accelerator for students and recent graduates who want to turn their ideas into businesses. Participants receive a stipend of up to $6,000 that can be used as seed funding, attend workshops and seminars, and receive one-on-one mentorship.
“Being in the program has allowed me to focus on developing my business and products,” says Lucenkiw. “Having no formal business training, this program has taught me skills that have adjusted the trajectory of my business in a really positive direction.”
He hopes to use this period to develop a functioning, field-tested prototype of a water quality monitor: “This device will be affordable and open-source so that it can be modified to meet more specific needs.”